Rural Homelessness: Issues, Experiences and Policy Responses

Rural Homelessness: Issues, Experiences and Policy Responses

Rural Homelessness: Issues, Experiences and Policy Responses

Rural Homelessness: Issues, Experiences and Policy Responses

Synopsis

Rural homelessness: supplies evidence on the nature, extent and experiences of homelessness in rural areas; provides a wide-ranging theoretical, empirical and policy-related account of homelessness in rural areas;offers a critique of policy responses to rural homelessness. The book is aimed at students and academics in human geography, sociology, social policy, housing studies and rural studies. It will also be of interest to individuals and organisations dealing with housing, homelessness and other social issues in rural areas.

Excerpt

It has been documented that there are four times as many animal shelters
in this country as there are shelters for battered women. While
emergency shelters do very important work, there are not enough of
them to provide shelter to everyone knocking on their doors. For
every homeless person you see on a street corner, there are another
nine homeless people you don’t see. People using couches for makeshift
beds in the homes of friends and relatives, two or three families sharing
a mobile home meant for just one, people living in substandard housing,
people living in their cars, people living outside in parks, campgrounds
and primitive wooded areas. The list goes on and on. (Stoops, in
Lewallen, 1998, p 9)

This book is about some of the 9 out of 10 homeless people you do not see – those living in rural areas. In terms of numbers, the hidden rural homeless cannot ‘compete’ with those in urban areas, and by adopting a rural focus in this book we in no way seek to underestimate or undermine the significance of issues faced by homeless people in various urban situations. However, we do want to claim loudly and clearly that rural homelessness exists as an important, but often invisible, social issue of our time. If you read this claim as a statement of the obvious, then you are probably one of a relatively small minority of people who recognise that homelessness is not confined to the sites and sights of the city. Not knowing about rural homelessness is entirely forgivable. Popular discourses of homelessness repeatedly focus on images and ideas relating to onstreet homeless people – usually labelled as ‘rough sleepers’ or ‘beggars’ – in major cities. Highly publicised policy responses to homelessness, such as the Rough Sleepers Initiative in Britain, tend to reinforce the interconnections between homelessness and the city.

Rural areas by contrast are associated with, and often defined by, very . . .

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