A Street Is Not a Home: Solving America's Homeless Dilemma

A Street Is Not a Home: Solving America's Homeless Dilemma

A Street Is Not a Home: Solving America's Homeless Dilemma

A Street Is Not a Home: Solving America's Homeless Dilemma


Dismisses opinions that the homeless dilemma is one that cannot be resolved. This book cuts through the medical, social, legal, and religious jargon that customarily surrounds the issue, approaching homelessness from the perspective of basic strategic planning. It dispels myths about the homeless crisis.


It was one of those bright, crisp November mornings in Seattle when the presidential motorcade of black limousines, helicopters, and police motorcycles screamed down a cordoned-off and deserted Interstate 5, not more than 100 yards from City Hall.

An impressive show of power, thought the mayor, standing by his office window. I wonder what the president would think, or do, with all that power if he knew that downstairs, in the basement of the government building, nearly two hundred homeless people had stayed through the cold night, sleeping on a bare floor, because all the shelters were full.

What would you do? Not as president, but as citizen. As human being. What would you do about homelessness in America? You know that literally millions of Americans—families, children, the mentally ill, the perfectly okay and the employable, the old and the young, the educated and the uneducated- are without shelter. It is the enduring shame of the nation, and we continue to allow it.

Why? Is it that the problem is just too big? Some say it is. We cannot grasp it. Is it money? Some say the deficit is the problem. We cannot afford it. Or is it will? Is it that this most neighborly of nations, this powerful defender of the American lifestyle, does not have the will to help people on the sharpest edges of life?

In this book, Judge Robert Coates assumes the will is there—in the American people, individually and collectively—to solve the problem. Homelessness is curable. All we need to hear is what good Americans are already doing, to emulate and expand on their achievements, to proclaim that we are concerned, and to get involved. In other words, we know what to do, and we must act.

Judge Coates' formula is simple. He looks at the sub-populations of the homeless and explains various programs in American cities that have already worked for them. He examines the barriers we place before homeless people—economic, legal, mythic—and shows how they can be struck down. And last, but not least, he shows us how to gain the power to act.

Coates is not new to the work. He has been concerned with homelessness for many years. And he is not politically naive. He knows that there are . . .

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