Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Shannon Cleverley-Thompson, EdD

Second Supervisor

Leah Deasy, EdD


The purpose of this interpretive phenomenological study was to explore and understand the behaviors of homeless shelter staff who promoted connectedness with homeless adolescent males and encourage them to remain in shelters. The data were collected for analysis by utilizing semi-structured interviews with four adult males who had experienced homelessness as adolescents and initiated contact with at least one homeless shelter. Four themes emerged from the analysis including (a) authentic relationships, (b) life coach, (c) create a sense of family, and (d) enduring adversity in shelter. The first three themes describe behaviors that encouraged the participants to stay in shelters. The fourth theme relates that the participants endured negative behaviors and remained in shelter to meet their basic needs. Results of this study may be used to impact policy and procedure of homeless shelters. The recommendation is made to continue rules, regulations, and structures with clear explanations made available to the youth. A credential should be developed for homeless shelter staff, enhancing the skills necessary for this position and allowing for higher pay and advancement. Executive leaders must improve the selection and hiring practices and support the development of family-like settings. Expanded attention must be given to street outreach services and the marketing of homeless shelters to attract homeless adolescent males and reduce their number of days on the street.

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