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Extending the Extended Family for Homeless and Marginally Housed African American Women
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Young homeless African American women and elderly marginally housed African American women have health, housing, and personal concerns specific to their age cohort, yet they also have parallel and complementary needs. The young struggle to find affordable housing, while the old may have difficulty in maintaining their homes. This article reports select findings from a pilot study designed to describe these two groups of women. The preliminary study was conducted preparatory to the development of a larger study to explore factors that would facilitate or hinder linking the two groups of women for mutual assistance in housesharing arrangements. Interviews and housing history findings revealed contrasts and similarities among the women and between both cohorts that reflected individual differences, common yet divergent life courses, and collective responses to family life situations, societal trends, and policies. Advantages and disadvantages of housesharing were delineated with 56.3% of the homeless women and 81.3% of the elderly women viewing coresidential living as an option worth considering. Housesharing arrangements should be further investigated by nurses and colleagues. Findings from this study are foundational for establishing alliances that may be a means to promote health and strengthen "family" in both populations. (Author)
Public Health Nursing
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services