Nobody Wants to Hear Our Truth: Homeless Women and Theories of the Welfare State

Nobody Wants to Hear Our Truth: Homeless Women and Theories of the Welfare State

Nobody Wants to Hear Our Truth: Homeless Women and Theories of the Welfare State

Nobody Wants to Hear Our Truth: Homeless Women and Theories of the Welfare State

Synopsis

The author conducted interviews for over five years with 20 homeless and addicted women with different experiences of sexual abuse and sexism and racism. They vividly demonstrate how both neo-conservative and neo-liberal prescriptions for solving their problems are unworkable. The work considers the linkage of homelessness and addiction, provides profiles of the interviewee, and outlines methodology used in the research.

Excerpt

In the first part of this book, I examine leading neo-liberal and neo- conservative theories from the perspective of twenty homeless, addicted women. I put the women's experiences in the context of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism to see whether or not either of these theories can adequately deal with these women's experiences. I am asking the following questions: What has been the New Right's reaction to the problem of poverty? How do they deal with the problems of the poor? What are their solutions? How effective are their prescriptions? What are the effects of their policies specifically on poor, homeless women? Can the theories explain the women's situations? Do the theories propose adequate solutions for these women's problems? I am making two related arguments. First, the policies offered for the family, and for racial and sexual relations -- derived explicitly by the neo-conservatives and implied by the neo-liberals -- are virtually identical, even though the theories of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism are very different in their views on freedom, the individual, and the justification for the state. Second, the lives of the women interviewed would not be ameliorated and, in most cases, would be made worse by the policies of the New Right because of the New Right's failure to take into account how the women came to be homeless, addicted, and on welfare.

Chapter 1 presents the main questions to be explored by this research. I look briefly at the problems of homelessness and addiction and the links between the two. I give a statistical profile of the women interviewed based on their experiences of drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution, and homelessness. I outline the methodology used in the re-

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