The Community Psychologist

A Publication of the Society for Community Research and Action
Division 27 of the American Psychological Association

Volume 49 Number 3
Summer 2016

John_Moritsugu_small.jpgFrom the President

John Moritsugu
Pacific Lutheran University

One of my favorite classroom exercises was provided by Marybeth Shinn on the teaching resources section of the divisional website. Different groups of students are presented with two questions on causes and responsibility for homelessness or for school dropout.

Why do some people become homeless? Why do some students drop out of school?

Why do so many people become homeless? Why do some schools have such high drop out rates?


From the Editors  Tiffany_McDowell_and_Dan_Cooper_small.jpg
Daniel Cooper and Tiffany McDowell 
Adler University, Chicago

We are in the thick of summer and this issue of the Community Psychologist is packed with evidence that community psychology is alive and well across the globe—so many resources and reflections that how could anyone ever question that this was the case? Nothing says summer more than bountiful gardens, and this issue shows us how gardens and community go hand in hand. The Environment and Justice column is a must read for that reason alone. This year marks the first community psychology conference in the MENA region, and this issue provides us many in depth reflections from students and international colleagues. The Policy Column shows us how impactful small grants have been in helping our society execute the action component in pushing for policy change. The rich international perspectives are again clear in the Student Issues column, where we see comparative perspectives on LGBT communities. These are but a small slice of the excellent work, happenings, and community building happening across the globe. Happy reading and stay cool out there.

Dan and Tiffany

The Community Practitioner

Edited by Olya Glantsman

How Practitioners Can Access Academic Literature

Written by Bill Berkowitz, Jasmine Douglas, Melissa Strompolis, Kyrah Brown, and Chris Corbett

Information is power, and community practitioners need access to desired information to make wise community decisions and strengthen their work. Fortunately, most of the time, they can get it. Some practice settings have affiliations with colleges and universities and others are even located within said settings, offering automatic access to staff members. Others are lucky enough to work with undergraduate and graduate students who can access resources for them. But what happens when practitioners do not have affiliations with academic institutions? Or when practitioners do not have students to access the resources?


Environment & Justice

Edited by Laura Kati Corlew

Community Psychologists in Community Gardens: A Fertile Ground for Ecological Inquiry

Written by Sarah Hernandez and Laura Kati Corlew

Community gardens are plots of land typically in an urban setting that are grassroots, community-based efforts to grow food. Community gardens have been historically created in response to a crisis; the earliest gardens emerged in response to poverty during the economic crisis of 1893 in Detroit (Kurtz, 2001). During both World Wars, community gardens were used to increase the supply of food for Americans, and by World War II, the “victory garden” campaign was established. By 1944, 18 to 20 million families were supplying 40% of America’s total vegetable supply (Okvat & Zautra, 2011). Victory gardens sprung up in response to economic hardships and food shortages as a way for communities to independently develop their own source of food. This victory garden model now serves as the foundation of traditionally organized communal style gardens in urban areas today.



Edited by Mona Amer

The First Community Psychology Conference in the MENA Region: Elements of Effective Change for the Socio-Cultural Context

Written by Mona M. Amer, Carie Forden, and Andrea Emanuel (Conference Co-Chairs), The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Rich learning experience. Diversity of speakers and practices. Opportunities for networking and collaboration. Hope and motivation for community change. Inspiration. These were some of the reactions we heard from attendees at the 1st Middle East North Africa Regional Conference on Community Psychology, which took place 24-26 March, 2016 at the Tahrir Square campus of The American University in Cairo (AUC). Located in the heart of Cairo’s city center and nestled between the historic Nile River and a sprawling urban metropolis, Tahrir (which means “liberation”) has seen decades of historical turning points including revolutions, riots, and reformations of modernity.


Living Community PsychologyLCP_LindseyZimmerman_small.jpg



Public Policy



Regional Update Spring 2016Gina_Langhout_large.jpg



Student Issues



Rural Interest Group



Self Help Interest Group

Edited by Greg Townley and Alicia Lucksted


Transformative Change in Community Mental Health Interest Group

Edited by Geoffrey Nelson

Pathways to Independence: A Transformative Case Management Model for Individuals Experiencing Chronic Homelessness
Written by Molly Brown ( and Martina Mihelicova, DePaul University

Individuals experiencing chronic homelessness face numerous barriers to recovery and housing including lack of affordable housing, no or insufficient income, low educational attainment, job market instability, difficulty navigating complex service systems, and chronic and untreated medical, mental health, and substance use issues (Caton, Wilkins, & Anderson, 2007). In recent years, a promising shift toward evidence-based, transformative housing interventions, such as Housing First, has occurred in the U.S. and internationally to address systems-level causes of homelessness and promote recovery on the individual level (Goering & Tsemberis, 2014).