There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States

By Anna Lou Dehavenon | Go to book overview

7
Piety and Poverty: The Religious Response to the Homeless in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Michael Robertson

Robertson writes about two contrasting charitable groups with very different views of the homeless. Fundamentalist religious groups value self-reliance, rehabilitation, and salvation through Jesus Christ as the means of combatting homelessness, so they seek to help the "most worthy" of the homeless. Mainstream church groups, on the other hand, value the experience of charitable work as an enriching experience for the church members. They obtain government help, which comes with some restrictions but allows them to assist the very poorest of the poor, including the mentally ill and the addicted. Both groups have a place in the system of agencies and programs assisting Albuquerque's homeless. Robertson recommends that the federal government simplify its grants process by reducing the paperwork demands and complex regulations that hinder small, poor agencies from applying for public funding to help the homeless, and that a greater proportions of these funds be allocated locally through Community Development Block Grants.


INTRODUCTION

Since the early 1980s, public policies have encouraged the private, nonprofit sector to respond to the social service needs of America's poorest citizens. In fact, direct assistance to the homeless has arisen primarily from the philanthropic efforts of private, nonprofit agencies, particularly from the nation's religious organizations.

In Albuquerque and throughout the state of New Mexico, religious groups have been the backbone of, and major force behind provision of, basic services to the area's homeless. The effectiveness of this arrangement for direct assistance to homeless people may have serious implications for public policy formulation and fulfillment. Where service provision has become the province of religious organizations, and where there is a gap between public sector arrangements and religious organizations as central service providers, it is possible for goods and services to

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There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contemporary Urban Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Prologue: Azdak Lives xi
  • Notes xiv
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Conclusion xx
  • 1: Poverty and Homelessness in Rural Upstate New York 1
  • Introduction 1
  • Summary and Recommendations 13
  • Conclusion 16
  • Notes 16
  • 2: The 1990 Decennial Census and Patterns of Homelessness in a Small New England City 19
  • Introduction 19
  • Summary and Recommendations 30
  • Conclusion 33
  • Note 33
  • 3: Doubling-Up: A Strategy of Urban Reciprocity to Avoid Homelessness in Detroit 35
  • Introduction 35
  • Summury and Recommendations 46
  • Conclusion 48
  • Notes 48
  • 4: Doubling-Up and New York City's Policies for Sheltering Homeless Families 51
  • Introduction 51
  • Summary and Recomendations 63
  • Conclusion 64
  • Conclusion 65
  • 5: A Home by Any Means Necessary: Government Policy on Squatting in the Public Housing of a Large Mid-Atlantic City 67
  • Introduction 67
  • Summary and Recommendations 76
  • Conclusion 78
  • Notes 78
  • 6: Huts for the Homeless: A Low- Technology Approach for Squatters in Atlanta, Georgia 81
  • Introduction 81
  • Summary and Recommendations 100
  • Conclusion 102
  • 7: Piety and Poverty: The Religious Response to the Homeless in Albuquerque, New Mexico 105
  • Introduction 105
  • Summary and Recommendations 114
  • Conclusion 116
  • Conclusion 117
  • 8: Suburban Homelessness and Social Space: Strategies of Authority and Local Resistance in Orange County, California 121
  • Introduction 121
  • Summary and Recommendations 140
  • Conclusion 141
  • Conclusion 142
  • 9: "There Goes the Neighborhood": Gentrification, Displacement, and Homelessness in Washington, D.C. 145
  • Introdution 145
  • Summary and Recommendations 160
  • Conclusions 162
  • Conclusions 163
  • Conclusion 165
  • Epilogue: A Perilous Bridge 175
  • References 177
  • Index 193
  • Contributors 203
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