AFTER HOUSES is an extended meditation on homelessness. In unflinching, raw poetry, poet Claire Millikin explores states of homelessness, and a longing for, even a devotion to, houses—houses as spaces where one could be safe and at ease. The poems move through an American landscape, between the South and the North, between childhood and adulthood, reaching toward a home that's never reached, but always at one's fingertips. Throughout this collection, Millikin draws from personal and family history, from classical mythology and architectural theory, to shape a poetry of empathy, in which some of the places where people get lost in America are faced and given place. AFTER HOUSES echo the voices of girls who have not quite survived, but who persist, intact in the way that Rimbaud insists on intactness, in words.
At Home in the World
Michael Jackson Duke University Press, 1995 Library of Congress DU125.W3J33 1995 | Dewey Decimal 306.0899915
Ours is a century of uprootedness, with fewer and fewer people living out their lives where they are born. At such a time, in such a world, what does it mean to be "at home?" Perhaps among a nomadic people, for whom dwelling is not synonymous with being housed and settled, the search for an answer to this question might lead to a new way of thinking about home and homelessness, exile and belonging. At Home in the World is the story of just such a search. Intermittently over a period of three years Michael Jackson lived, worked, and traveled extensively in Central Australia. This book chronicles his experience among the Warlpiri of the Tanami Desert. Something of a nomad himself, having lived in New Zealand, Sierra Leone, England, France, Australia, and the United States, Jackson is deft at capturing the ambiguities of home as a lived experience among the Warlpiri. Blending narrative ethnography, empirical research, philosophy, and poetry, he focuses on the existential meaning of being at home in the world. Here home becomes a metaphor for the intimate relationship between the part of the world a person calls "self" and the part of the world called "other." To speak of "at-homeness," Jackson suggests, implies that people everywhere try to strike a balance between closure and openness, between acting and being acted upon, between acquiescing in the given and choosing their own fate. His book is an exhilarating journey into this existential struggle, responsive at every turn to the political questions of equity and justice that such a struggle entails. A moving depiction of an aboriginal culture at once at home and in exile, and a personal meditation on the practice of ethnography and the meaning of home in our increasingly rootless age, At Home in the World is a timely reflection on how, in defining home, we continue to define ourselves.
Homelessness is a haunting social problem that has, by all definitions, outgrown society's conventional solutions. Through their interviews with nine knowledgeable observers who range across the humanities, social and medical sciences, and human services, Giamo and Grunberg examines the nature and conditions of this ongoing crisis. No longer contained by traditional urban skid rows or state mental hospitals, homeless individuals now confront "normal" society face to face—and this "normal" society is at a loss for how to respond. The enormity of the problem has resulted in a stagnation of viable ideas, creating an industry with an endless litany of root cause and quick fix. But as these dialogues point out, there is no one root cause for the fact of homelessness. These timely, penetrating exhanges challenge established misconceptions of this problem.
Throughout history, those arrested for vagrancy have generally been poor men and women, often young, able-bodied, unemployed, and homeless. Most histories of vagrancy have focused on the European and American experiences. Cast Out: Vagrancy and Homelessness in Global and Historical Perspective is the first book to consider the shared global heritage of vagrancy laws, homelessness, and the historical processes they accompanied.
In this ambitious collection, vagrancy and homelessness are used to examine a vast array of phenomena, from the migration of labor to social and governmental responses to poverty through charity, welfare, and prosecution. The essays in Cast Out represent the best scholarship on these subjects and include discussions of the lives of the underclass, strategies for surviving and escaping poverty, the criminalization of poverty by the state, the rise of welfare and development programs, the relationship between imperial powers and colonized peoples, and the struggle to achieve independence after colonial rule. By juxtaposing these histories, the authors explore vagrancy as a common response to poverty, labor dislocation, and changing social norms, as well as how this strategy changed over time and adapted to regional peculiarities.
Part of a growing literature on world history, Cast Out offers fresh perspectives and new research in fields that have yet to fully investigate vagrancy and homelessness. This book by leading scholars in the field is for policy makers, as well as for courses on poverty, homelessness, and world history.
Richard B. Allen
A. L. Beier
Andrew A. Gentes
Frank Tobias Higbie
Thomas H. Holloway
Aminda M. Smith
In the years following the Civil War, a veritable army of homeless men swept across America's "wageworkers' frontier" and forged a beguiling and bedeviling counterculture known as "hobohemia." Celebrating unfettered masculinity and jealously guarding the American road as the preserve of white manhood, hoboes took command of downtown districts and swaggered onto center stage of the new urban culture. Less obviously, perhaps, they also staked their own claims on the American polity, claims that would in fact transform the very entitlements of American citizenship.
In this eye-opening work of American history, Todd DePastino tells the epic story of hobohemia's rise and fall, and crafts a stunning new interpretation of the "American century" in the process. Drawing on sources ranging from diaries, letters, and police reports to movies and memoirs, Citizen Hobo breathes life into the largely forgotten world of the road, but it also, crucially, shows how the hobo army so haunted the American body politic that it prompted the creation of an entirely new social order and political economy. DePastino shows how hoboes—with their reputation as dangers to civilization, sexual savages, and professional idlers—became a cultural and political force, influencing the creation of welfare state measures, the promotion of mass consumption, and the suburbanization of America. Citizen Hobo's sweeping retelling of American nationhood in light of enduring struggles over "home" does more than chart the change from "homelessness" to "houselessness." In its breadth and scope, the book offers nothing less than an essential new context for thinking about Americans' struggles against inequality and alienation.
The Displaced of Capital
Anne Winters University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3573.I539D57 2004 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Winner of the 2005 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.
The long-awaited follow-up to The Key to the City—a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1986—Anne Winters's The Displaced of Capital emanates a quiet and authoritative passion for social justice, embodying the voice of a subtle, sophisticated conscience.
The "displaced" in the book's title refers to the poor, the homeless, and the disenfranchised who populate New York, the city that serves at once as gritty backdrop, city of dreams, and urban nightmare. Winters also addresses the culturally, ethnically, and emotionally excluded and, in these politically sensitive poems, writes without sentimentality of a cityscape of tenements and immigrants, offering her poetry as a testament to the lives of have-nots. In the central poem, Winters witnesses the relationship between two women of disparate social classes whose friendship represents the poet's political convictions. With poems both powerful and musical, The Displaced of Capital marks Anne Winters's triumphant return and assures her standing as an essential New York poet.
The most accurate and comprehensive picture of homelessness to date, this study offers a powerful explanation of its causes, proposes short- and long-term solutions, and documents the striking contrasts between the homeless of the 1950s and 1960s and the contemporary homeless population, which is younger and contains more women, children, and blacks.
Los Angeles, California, and Berlin, Germany, have been dubbed "homeless capitals" for having the largest homeless populations of their respective countries. In Down and Out in Los Angeles and Berlin, Jürgen von Mahs provides an illuminating comparative analysis of the impact of social welfare policy on homelessness in these cities. He addresses the opportunity of people to overcome--or "exit"--homelessness and shows how Berlin, with its considerable social and economic investment for assisting its homeless has been as unsuccessful as Los Angeles.
Drawing on fascinating ethnographic insights, von Mahs shows how homeless people in both cities face sociospatial exclusion-legal displacement for criminal activities, poor shelters in impoverished neighborhoods, as well as market barriers that restrict reintegration. Providing a necessary wake-up call, Down and Out in Los Angeles and Berlin addresses the critical public policy issues that can produce effective services to improve homeless people's chances for a lasting exit.
Across the Western world, full membership of society is established through entitlements to space and formalized in the institutions of property and citizenship. Those without such entitlements are deemed less than fully human as they struggle to find a place where they can symbolically and physically exist. Written by an anthropologist who accidentally found herself homeless, The Ethics of Space is an unprecedented account of what happens when homeless people organize to occupy abandoned properties.
Set against the backdrop of economic crisis, austerity, and a disintegrating British state, Steph Grohmann tells the story of a flourishing squatter community in the city of Bristol and how it was eventually outlawed by the state. The first ethnography of homelessness done by a researcher who was formally homeless throughout fieldwork, this volume explores the intersection between spatial existence, subjectivity, and ethics. The result is a book that rethinks how ethical views are shaped and constructed through our own spatial existences.
How do homeless people perceive their plight? Specifically, how does their situation affect their sense of personal dignity? In intensive interviews with one hundred adult heads of homeless families, Barry Seltser and Donald Miller ask these questions, previously not dealt with in the growing literature on homelessness. Homeless Families sensitizes readers, challenging them to consider their own moral and social responses to homeless people.
Community integration has been a central goal of mental health service policy since deinstitutionalization began in the 1950s, as homelessness increased in the 1980s, and as housing programs for homeless mentally ill persons developed in the 1990s. In 1990, an innovative experiment—the Boston McKinney Project—began to test alternative housing policies. Schutt’s comprehensive analysis of the project’s findings calls into question current housing policies that support the preference of most homeless mentally ill persons to live alone in independent apartments. Indeed, Homelessness, Housing and Mental Illness shows that living alone reduces housing retention and cognitive functioning, thereby supporting clinicians’ usual recommendation of group living. Schutt’s findings challenge the assumptions behind current policy and call for reexamining housing programs for this population.
How to House the Homeless
Ingrid Gould Ellen Russell Sage Foundation, 2010 Library of Congress HV4505.H69 2010 | Dewey Decimal 363.580973
How to House the Homeless, editors Ingrid Gould Ellen and Brendan O'Flaherty propose that the answers entail rethinking how housing markets operate and developing more efficient interventions in existing service programs. The book critically reassesses where we are now, analyzes the most promising policies and programs going forward, and offers a new agenda for future research. How to House the Homeless makes clear the inextricable link between homelessness and housing policy. Contributor Jill Khadduri reviews the current residential services system and housing subsidy programs. For the chronically homeless, she argues, a combination of assisted housing approaches can reach the greatest number of people and, specifically, an expanded Housing Choice Voucher system structured by location, income, and housing type can more efficiently reach people at-risk of becoming homeless and reduce time spent homeless. Robert Rosenheck examines the options available to homeless people with mental health problems and reviews the cost-effectiveness of five service models: system integration, supported housing, clinical case management, benefits outreach, and supported employment. He finds that only programs that subsidize housing make a noticeable dent in homelessness, and that no one program shows significant benefits in multiple domains of life. Contributor Sam Tsemberis assesses the development and cost-effectiveness of the Housing First program, which serves mentally ill homeless people in more than four hundred cities. He asserts that the program's high housing retention rate and general effectiveness make it a viable candidate for replication across the country. Steven Raphael makes the case for a strong link between homelessness and local housing market regulations—which affect housing affordability—and shows that the problem is more prevalent in markets with stricter zoning laws. Finally, Brendan O'Flaherty bridges the theoretical gap between the worlds of public health and housing research, evaluating the pros and cons of subsidized housing programs and the economics at work in the rental housing market and home ownership. Ultimately, he suggests, the most viable strategies will serve as safety nets—"social insurance"—to reach people who are homeless now and to prevent homelessness in the future. It is crucial that the links between effective policy and the whole cycle of homelessness—life conditions, service systems, and housing markets—be made clear now. With a keen eye on the big picture of housing policy, How to House the Homeless shows what works and what doesn't in reducing the numbers of homeless and reaching those most at risk.
As intimate as they are inspiring, these stories of transformation, drawn from the oral histories of formerly homeless adults, testify to the determination of the human spirit and the healing power of sharing one’s journey. This gripping collection gives voice to the traditionally voiceless, inviting men and women from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds to share their experiences of what it was like to live on the streets, in cars, under bridges, and of how they discovered the inner motivation to change the course of their lives in a positive direction. An important contribution to understanding how destructive patterns can be broken, this book examines some key questions: How do those who have suffered from homelessness and the hardships that accompany it find the inspiration and courage to break the seemingly endless cycle, transform their lives, and become self-sufficient? What emotional price do they pay? When do they realize that enough is enough? How do they learn to trust new people when so many have disappointed them? Homeless people can and do find a way off the streets, as these men and women reveal through their stories, paintings, and poetry.
"This book...will undoubtedly influence the course of future homeless research and policy. It represents the most comprehensive statement today of the realities of Skid Row life and of the pitfalls of contrasting 'new' and 'old' homeless populations."
--American Journal of Sociology
Blending detailed historical perspective with contemporary survey research, Charles Hoch and Robert Slayton argue that the answers to one of the most pressing problems of our time come from the poor themselves. Their examination of the Skid Row single room occupancy hotel (SRO) reveals how communities formed by low-income single-person households have for decades offered the security, personal autonomy, and privacy for the "old" homeless that the "new" homeless lack. And they show how public urban renewal efforts, which destroyed the bulk of these hotels with the intent to rid the inner city of the Skid Row homeless, actually laid the foundation for today's urban homeless crisis.
Focusing on Chicago from 1870 to the present, but including case studies in other cities, Hoch and Slayton analyze how these SRO hotels operated in the past and claim that the term "flop house" really described a wide range of shelter types available to the poor according to their economic conditions.
Based on their research, the authors conclude that policies for solving the homeless problem should focus mainly not on the homeless people, but on the institutional actors who benefit directly and indirectly from their predicament. This means changing public policies that encourage the destruction of affordable housing, especially SRO hotels, and implementing preservation, rehabilitation, and new construction policies instead.
"The authors argue that government attitudes rooted in New Deal philosophy, and public confusion of this group's characteristics with those of a stereotypical Skid Row deviant, have resulted in inadequate planning for dealing with people who have a legitimate social problem and need enlightened attention. Recommended for professionals and academics."
"Hoch and Slayton seem more savvy...about the political implications of housing and land-use policies. And they aren't shy about naming names, which makes their study more comprehensive and compelling."
"New Homeless and Old breaks with the tradition of previous research in several welcome respects...the approach taken is refreshingly eclectic, weaving together historical materials, survey evidence, and intimate knowledge of the local scene. In a devastating critique of advocates' ameliorative efforts, they show bow both compassion--and entitlement--based appeals have encouraged 'shelterization,' thus threatening to institutionalize the homelessness problem."
Homelessness touches every corner of our country, even the most prosperous ones. In No Vacancy: Homeless Women in Paradise, Michael E. Reid tells the story of more than five hundred women living without shelter in the affluent sea-side communities of Monterrey, Pebble Beach, and Carmel, California. Even in these glittering cities, one by one, homeless women were dying, their bodies appearing in plain sight. When Reid, an Episcopal priest, became aware of these tragedies, he had to act, and he co-founded the Fund for Homeless Women. This new venture took him deep into the complex realities homeless women face. He found that the well-meaning policies and programs in place in fact often had the unintentional effect of widening the gap between the indigent and mainstream society. No Vacancy captures the realities of homelessness in affluent northern California and exposes pitfalls encountered by those who wish to combat it. Reid presents an unvarnished look at the culture of long-term homelessness, and his experience provides helpful guidance for fighting this crisis. He also explores the root causes that can result in homelessness, including marginalization and the gender-based bias—and its disproportionate effect on women of color. This timely book provides needed guidance from the frontlines of the fight against homelessness, especially as activists and homeless people face weakened political and financial support from the government and their communities.
There is little doubt among scientists and the general public that homelessness, mental illness, and addiction are inter-related. In Of Others Inside, Darin Weinberg examines how these inter-relations have taken form in the United States. He links the establishment of these connections to the movement of mental health and addiction treatment from redemptive processes to punitive ones and back again, and explores the connection between social welfare, rehabilitation, and the criminal justice system.
Seeking to offer a new sociological understanding of the relationship between social exclusion and mental disability, Of Others Inside considers the general social conditions of homelessness, poverty, and social marginality in the U.S. Weinberg also explores questions about American perceptions of these conditions, and examines in great detail the social reality of mental disability and drug addiction without reducing people's suffering to simple notions of biological fate or social disorder.
On Hobos and Homelessness
Nels Anderson University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress HV4505.A623 1998 | Dewey Decimal 305.568
Nels Anderson was a pioneer in the study of the homeless. In the early 1920s Anderson combined his own experience "on the bummery," with his keen sociological insight to give voice to a largely ignored underclass. He remains an extraordinary and underrated figure in the history of American sociology.
On Hobos and Homelessness includes Anderson's rich and vibrant ethnographic work of a world of homeless men. He conducted his study on Madison street in Chicago, and we come to intimately know this portion of the 1920s hobo underworld—the harshness of vagrant life and the adventures of young hobos who come to the big city. This selection also includes Anderson's later work on the juvenile and the tramp, the unattached migrant, and the family. Like John Steinbeck's Depression-era observations, Anderson's writings express the memory of those who do not seem entitled to have memory, whose lives were expressed in temporary labor.
As both theme and place, the Bowery has been rich in meaning, evocative in association, long in development, and representative of the inherent conflict between culture and subculture. This award-winning interdisciplinary study puts in perspective the social meaning and cultural significance of the Bowery from both historical and contemporary outlooks, spanning the fields of American literature and social history, culture studies, symbolic anthropology, ethnography, and social psychology. On the Bowery has special relevance in providing continuity for the systems of thought and methods of intervention that influence responses to the modern condition of homelessness in American cities today.
Often described as an emergency, homelessness in America is becoming a chronic condition that reflects an overall decline in the nation's standard of living and the general state of the economy. This is the disturbing conclusion drawn by Martha Burt in Over the Edge, a timely book that takes a clear-eyed look at the astonishing surge in the homeless population during the 1980s. Assembling and analyzing data from 147 U.S. cities, Burt documents the increase in homelessness and proposes a comprehensive explanation of its causes, incorporating economic, personal, and policy determinants. Her unique research answers many provocative questions: Why did homelessness continue to spiral even after economic conditions improved in 1983? Why is it significantly greater in cities with both high poverty rates and high per capita income? What can be done about the problem? Burt points to the significant catalysts of homelessness—the decline of manufacturing jobs in the inner city, the increased cost of living, the tight rental housing market, diminished household income, and reductions in public benefit programs—all of which exert pressures on the more vulnerable of the extremely poor. She looks at the special problems facing the homeless, including the growing number of mentally ill and chemically dependent individuals, and explains why certain groups—minorities and low-skilled men, single men and women, and families headed by women—are at greatest risk of becoming homeless. Burt's analysis reveals that homelessness arises from no single factor, but is instead perpetuated by pivotal interactions between external social and economic conditions and personal vulnerabilities. From an understanding of these interactions, Over the Edge builds lucid, realistic recommendations for policymakers struggling to alleviate a situation of grave consequence for our entire society.
Based upon extensive ethnographic data, “A Roof Over My Head” examines the lives of homeless women who cope with domestic violence, low-income housing shortages, and poverty. The author draws upon interviews with homeless women, interviews with housed people, and, finally, evaluations of shelter services, philosophies, and policies to get at the causes and social constructions of homelessness. “A Roof Over My Head” is a groundbreaking study that unveils the centrality of abuse and poverty in homeless women’s lives and outlines ways in which societal responses can and should be more effective.
The second edition explores recent attempts to integrate homeless and battered women’s shelters and recent research on domestic violence as a cause of homelessness. It contains a new introduction that analyzes the most recent homeless policy developments and paints a picture of the homeless population today. With updated statistics and policy information throughout, the second edition of “A Roof Over My Head” illustrates why ending homelessness in the United States continues to present a thorny and complex challenge.
In The Space of Boredom Bruce O'Neill explores how people cast aside by globalism deal with an intractable symptom of downward mobility: an unshakeable and immense boredom. Focusing on Bucharest, Romania, where the 2008 financial crisis compounded the failures of the postsocialist state to deliver on the promises of liberalism, O'Neill shows how the city's homeless are unable to fully participate in a society that is increasingly organized around practices of consumption. Without a job to work, a home to make, or money to spend, the homeless—who include pensioners abandoned by their families and the state—struggle daily with the slow deterioration of their lives. O'Neill moves between homeless shelters and squatter camps, black labor markets and transit stations, detailing the lives of men and women who manage boredom by seeking stimulation, from conversation and coffee to sex in public restrooms or going to the mall or IKEA. Showing how boredom correlates with the downward mobility of Bucharest's homeless, O'Neill theorizes boredom as an enduring affect of globalization in order to provide a foundation from which to rethink the politics of alienation and displacement.