Browsing Electronic Theses (Proquest) by Title "Change a Tire, Change a Life: The Impact of Bicycle Ownership on People Experiencing Homelessness"
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- ItemChange a Tire, Change a Life: The Impact of Bicycle Ownership on People Experiencing HomelessnessBaele, SylvieAcross the United States, homelessness has proven to be a pervasive “wicked” problem, characterized by multiple causes and effects that are difficult to understand and resolve using a traditional scientific approach. (Council of Economic Advisors, 2019; Rittel & Webber, 1973). There are many public and nonprofit agencies that assist individuals experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity by providing resources and services such as food, shelter, and housing, but these organizations rarely provide much in terms of transportation. Affordable and reliable personal transportation is necessary to meet one’s basic needs and participate in society. Although bicycles are not widely recognized as a viable mode of transportation in the U.S., this affordable mode of transportation is commonly used by people across the world to meet their day-to-day needs. The purpose of this study is to determine how bicycle ownership affects the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in Charleston, South Carolina. Through interviews with individuals in this population who received safe, reliable bikes at no cost, this study assesses the specific and broad impacts and considers how bike ownership may be used as an intervention strategy in occupational therapy. How did bikes impact these individuals’ mobility, employment, physical health, mental health, overall well-being, and social participation and connections? In general, bikes were found to enhance their perceived abilities of transportation and socialization and were deemed assets to their mental and physical health. These findings, in particular, the ways in which the positive impacts of bike ownership intersect and multiply, can be utilized by academics, researchers, health care professionals, service providers, and policymakers to develop and implement social outreach programs and policies with more equitable outcomes and contribute to a higher quality of life for homeless and housing insecure populations.