Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Stefanie Mollborn

Second Advisor

Dr. Isaac Ariail Reed

Third Advisor

Dr. Angela Thieman Dino

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand how Mexican-origin immigrants construct home on the household level and the neighborhood level, as well as the threats to constructing home. Thirteen low-income Mexican-origin parents accessing housing assistance were interviewed about their families, neighborhoods, previous living arrangements, social assistance programs, and the housing authority. On the household level, participants valued space, independence, time, and safety in their construction of home. On the neighborhood level, participants valued physical features of the neighborhood and its proximity to schools and grocery stores, support systems, and neighborhood security. Threats to constructing home included growth and aging of the family, citizenship status, stigma, lack of integration within the neighborhood support system, and surveillance by the housing authority. Results suggest that time should be considered an element of home, the cultural explanation of the living arrangements of Latino immigrants should be rejected, and the attempts of the housing authority to create affordable housing do not perfectly align with participants' construction of home.

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