Moving to Nowhere: Children's Stories of Homelessness

Moving to Nowhere: Children's Stories of Homelessness

Moving to Nowhere: Children's Stories of Homelessness

Moving to Nowhere: Children's Stories of Homelessness

Synopsis

This sensitive, insightful, and troubling book communicates, through the voices of children, the harsh life experiences of homelessness. Skilled clinical-developmental psychologist Dr. Mary Walsh presents a study that both analyzes the problem of homelessness and conveys the sadness, confusion, poverty, loneliness, and uncertainty with which "shelter" children must cope. Individual chapters address basic relationships common to all children--family, friends, and school--and then consider how these relationships are impacted by homelessness, the factors which lead to this condition, and the crowded, stressful life in the shelters.

Excerpt

In nearly twenty years as a clinical-developmental psychologist, particularly in my position in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School, I have had the privilege of working with poor children and their families. Most of these families lived in the inner city, struggling to survive in substandard housing on minimum income. I have seen these children and families in neighborhood health centers, schools, hospitals, and other community programs. While some of my work with these families has involved empirical research, much of it has been clinical in nature. As they related their day-to-day struggles to have what so many of them describe as "a good life," I have increasingly come to appreciate the profound effects of poverty, particularly on the lives of the children.

In their efforts to make me understand, these children told me their stories--stories that I gradually came to realize had a depth and richness far beyond the limits of psychological measures. In a simple and elegant way they told me what they felt about their lives, their struggles, their hopes, and their dreams.

Nearly five years ago, when I began to work with mothers and children who were homeless, I heard variants on these same stories. The pain was sharper, the hopes more dimmed, and the dreams a little further out of reach. The stories of these voiceless children greatly affected me. I learned how much I did not know about their lives. In order to enable . . .

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