Bridging the Gap Between Micro and Macro Practice to Address Homelessness in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region: Implications for Practitioners and Community Stakeholders
Keywords:homelessness, Homelessness, micro and macro social work practice, macro practice, photovoice, U.S.-Mexico Border, community-engaged practice, community-engagement
Research and scholarship efforts continue to promote the integration of micro and macro practice in social work practice and education. Despite this, scholarship has documented persistent challenges in the fluid integration between the domains of micro-level service provision and macro-level social change efforts in practice and academic programs. This paper outlines a successful bridge between the micro-macro divide in the form of community-engaged practice to address homelessness and social work education in the U.S.-Mexico border region. MSW students enrolled in a macro-level course at the University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Health Sciences successfully partnered with the Opportunity Center for the Homeless, a grassroots community based organization serving individuals experiencing homelessness. The narrative describes how students were effectively able to apply both micro- and macro-level skills learned in the classroom to an experiential learning environment while providing much-needed assistance to an underfunded community-based organization. A set of challenges and recommendations are also discussed. Research initiatives are needed to evaluate and test clinical and community work initiatives, including the use of photovoice methodology to address homelessness, while being responsive to community needs and challenges.
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