Homeless Families


homelessness, the condition of not having a permanent place to live, widely perceived as a societal problem only beginning in the 1980s. Estimates of the number of homeless people in the United States are imprecise, but in the late 1990s ranged from 700,000 per night to 2 million per year. A survey made in 1994 found that 12 million Americans had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives; the vast majority of those who are homeless consists of single men and families with children. The problem exists in all major cities and many smaller communities. The causes range from large-scale deinstitutionalization of mentally ill people to disintegration of the social fabric in minority communities, drug and alcohol abuse, relatively stagnant wages at lower income levels, cutbacks in federal social-welfare programs, job loss, reductions in public housing, and rent increases and real-estate speculation. The McKinney Act (1987) established federal support for the building and maintenance of emergency homeless shelters; some 3,700 agencies and organizations now operate shelters.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Homelessness in America
Jim Baumohl.
Oryx Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Homeless Families Are Different"
There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States
Anna Lou Dehavenon.
Bergin & Garvey Publishers, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Doubling-Up and New York City's Policies for Sheltering Homeless Families"
The Black Family: Strengths, Self-Help, and Positive Change
Sadye L. Logan.
Westview Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Includes "A Perspective on Homelessness among African American Families"
Braving the Street: The Anthropology of Homelessness
Irene Glasser; Rae Bridgman.
Berghahn Books, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Includes information on Homeless Families in "Patterns of Homelessness"
Homeless Mothers: Face to Face with Women and Poverty
Deborah R. Connolly.
University of Minnesota Press, 2000
The New Poverty: Homeless Families in America
Ralph Da Costa Nunez.
Insight Books, 1996
Parenting in Public: Family Shelter and Public Assistance
Donna Haig Friedman; Rosa Clark; Brenda Farrell; Deborah Gray; Michelle Kahan; Margaret A. Leonard; Mary T. Lewis; Nancy Schwoyer; Elisabeth Ward; Sarah Haig Friedman.
Columbia University Press, 2000
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