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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2008): Homelessness - overseas

Faith-based programs and outcomes for street living youth in Los Angeles, Mumbai and Nairobi: a comparative study

K.M. Ferguson and others

International Social Work, vol. 51, 2008, p. 159-177

Because governments alone cannot solve the problem of growing numbers of street children across the world, civil society organisations have emerged as prominent service providers in this field. However there has been little research on the outcomes that the interventions provided by these organisations have in the lives of street-dwelling youth. This article reports on research into the impact of services provided by faith-based organisations in three different cultural contexts in Los Angeles, Mumbai and Nairobi. The organisations studied consistently aimed to offer the youths a safe haven from the streets, to provide them with medical and mental health treatment, to reduce high-risk behaviours, and to equip them with academic and technical skills. These interventions appeared to be producing positive changes in the young people's lives within their respective cultural contexts. The article concludes with calls for more government support for these agencies.

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