There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States

By Anna Lou Dehavenon | Go to book overview

shelter in Centerville appeared especially compatible with the Hispanic female- headed households, who constituted the majority of the residents of the shelter. The women referred to the nuns as las monjitas (dear sisters) and generally had more patience with the rules of the shelter than did the non-Hispanic residents.


Observations of the 1990 Homeless Census Count

As a final strategy for the study, the research team reassembled for the March 20, 1990, Census Bureau Homeless Count (S-Night). Our goal was to count the homeless independently and then compare our findings with those of the Census Bureau. The comparison was done for people living outside, for shelter residents, and the residents of the hotel. We found that when the census takers visited the shelters and hotel in person, they received a high degree of cooperation from the management and tenants, and that the two counts were comparable. However, the census enumerators found no one on the street. It appeared that without prior relationships with the homeless living outside, there was very little likelihood of finding them. Since the doubled-up population was not to be covered by the S- Night count but by the regular April 1 census, it is difficult to know how many doubled-up people were actually counted.


SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Two levels of recommendations emerge from this study: recommendations at the federal level for improved methods of census enumeration for the homeless, and recommendations at the federal and local levels for improved strategies for moving people from homelessness to permanent housing.


Recommendations for Improved Methods of Census Enumeration

Recommendation #1. Improve the street-count methodology. Nationwide, it appears that the homeless shelter count was reasonably accurate, due to a generally high degree of cooperation among shelter residents and managers. However, the street count fell short of most estimates. (See Wright 1992 for an excellent collection of articles evaluating the 1990 homeless count.) In Centerville, none of the homeless sleeping outside were counted.

The 1991 census in India contrasted with the U.S. census count of the homeless. The U.S. relies on sending out enumerators with no prior relationship with the persons being counted, in the dead of night. In contrast, India required that enumerators spend three weeks learning all the places the homeless ("houseless," in India) sleep within that enumerator's designated area of housed and non-housed residents. As in the United States, the homeless were counted at night, when they had bedded down on the pavement. The key difference was in the amount of preparation and knowledge of the homeless that the enumerator had. (See Glasser

-30-

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There's No Place like Home: Anthropological Perspectives on Housing and Homelessness in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contemporary Urban Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Prologue: Azdak Lives xi
  • Notes xiv
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Conclusion xx
  • 1: Poverty and Homelessness in Rural Upstate New York 1
  • Introduction 1
  • Summary and Recommendations 13
  • Conclusion 16
  • Notes 16
  • 2: The 1990 Decennial Census and Patterns of Homelessness in a Small New England City 19
  • Introduction 19
  • Summary and Recommendations 30
  • Conclusion 33
  • Note 33
  • 3: Doubling-Up: A Strategy of Urban Reciprocity to Avoid Homelessness in Detroit 35
  • Introduction 35
  • Summury and Recommendations 46
  • Conclusion 48
  • Notes 48
  • 4: Doubling-Up and New York City's Policies for Sheltering Homeless Families 51
  • Introduction 51
  • Summary and Recomendations 63
  • Conclusion 64
  • Conclusion 65
  • 5: A Home by Any Means Necessary: Government Policy on Squatting in the Public Housing of a Large Mid-Atlantic City 67
  • Introduction 67
  • Summary and Recommendations 76
  • Conclusion 78
  • Notes 78
  • 6: Huts for the Homeless: A Low- Technology Approach for Squatters in Atlanta, Georgia 81
  • Introduction 81
  • Summary and Recommendations 100
  • Conclusion 102
  • 7: Piety and Poverty: The Religious Response to the Homeless in Albuquerque, New Mexico 105
  • Introduction 105
  • Summary and Recommendations 114
  • Conclusion 116
  • Conclusion 117
  • 8: Suburban Homelessness and Social Space: Strategies of Authority and Local Resistance in Orange County, California 121
  • Introduction 121
  • Summary and Recommendations 140
  • Conclusion 141
  • Conclusion 142
  • 9: "There Goes the Neighborhood": Gentrification, Displacement, and Homelessness in Washington, D.C. 145
  • Introdution 145
  • Summary and Recommendations 160
  • Conclusions 162
  • Conclusions 163
  • Conclusion 165
  • Epilogue: A Perilous Bridge 175
  • References 177
  • Index 193
  • Contributors 203
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