“Hey, I’ve Got a Voice Too!” Narratives of Adversity, Growth and Empowerment

  • David J. Jefferson University of California, Davis
  • Debra A. Harkins Suffolk University
Keywords: Empowerment, Narrative, Social and economic justice, Homelessness, Community psychology


The present study explored meanings of “empowerment” from bottom-up perspectives. Sixteen low-income individuals experiencing homelessness and related forms of economic adversity participated. Participants reported experiencing empowerment, but also adversity, for example discrimination and ongoing poverty. Results are discussed in a broader societal context, with recommendations made for professionals interested in social and economic justice. Suggestions include enhanced inter-agency partnerships for underserved communities, investment in concepts such as workforce development, and increased opportunities for change through policy reform.
How to Cite
Jefferson, D. J., & Harkins, D. A. (2011). “Hey, I’ve Got a Voice Too!” Narratives of Adversity, Growth and Empowerment. Journal for Social Action in Counseling & Psychology, 3(2), 104-128. https://doi.org/10.33043/JSACP.3.2.104-128