Old Men Drunk and Sober

Old Men Drunk and Sober

Old Men Drunk and Sober

Old Men Drunk and Sober

Excerpt

This book reports the results obtained in the first six years of the Columbia Bowery Project, a study of homelessness and disaffiliation which is still underway, although both authors have left Columbia University and the focus of the study has widened to include disaffiliated women, old people in rest homes, and some other groups only indirectly related to the population we originally set out to study.

The Columbia Bowery Project began early in 1963 through the good offices of Dr. Lawrence R. Podell, then director of research for the New York City Welfare Department, who arranged a meeting between Theodore Caplow and Morris Chase, the experienced welfare administrator responsible for the organization of Operation Bowery within the Welfare Department. Operation Bowery was designed to improve and expand the services offered to homeless men by the Welfare Department and to explore the possibility of restoring some of them to health, full-time employment, and a normal place in the community. Chase was quick to see the opportuntiy offered to this enterprise by the research facilities of Columbia's Bureau of Applied Social Research and Caplow's experience in skid row studies. (It is pleasant to report that these expectations were largely fulfilled in the later successes of Operation Bowery.)

This meeting led to a contract whereby Columbia University, acting through its Bureau of Applied Social Research, agreed "to conduct a detailed study of the permanent and transient population in the Bowery area of the borough of Manhattan, City of New York, of their institutional arrangements, and of the current trends by which they are affected." The study was to be directed to a determination of the elements of a workable program for the rehabilitation of the homeless population of the Bowery area and was, according to the contract, to "make use of a variety of research methods including ecological analysis, direct enumeration, life history interviews, review of social agency records, participant observa-

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