Resident Work in High-Support Housing
A Mad Feminist Political Economy Analysis
While feminist political economists have identified social service provisioning as socially reproductive work and have examined its reorganization under neoliberalism, little attention has been paid to the mental health care sector. Furthermore, within feminist political economy scholarship on work in the social service sector, little attention has been paid to the contributions of service users. I address some of these gaps by developing a Mad feminist political economy framework to analyze the unpaid socially reproductive work completed by residents in high-support psychiatric housing in Ontario today.
Drawing on data from interviews with 23 residents and 15 service providers in high-support psychiatric housing in Ontario, as well as a review of government and non-profit organization documents, I argue that the work done by residents alleviates demands on social service workers in a time of neoliberal restraint, intensified workplace demands, and a heightened focus on service user independence in all aspects of life. I then conclude with recommendations for change.