Social Network Decay as Potential Recovery from Homelessness: A Mixed Methods Study in Housing First Programming

This paper aims to describe and understand changes in social networks of residents living in a HF program. In this study researchers employed a longitudinal, convergent parallel mixed method design, collecting quantitative social network data through structured interviews (n = 13) and qualitative data through semi-structured interviews (n = 20). Results demonstrated a reduction in network size over the course of one year and increases in both network density and frequency of contact with network members. Interviews demonstrated a strengthening in the quality of relationships with family and housing providers and a shedding of burdensome and abusive relationships. The results suggest network decay is a possible indicator of participants’ recovery process as they discontinued negative relationships and strengthened positive ones.