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

By Anna Lou Dehavenon | Go to book overview

8
Suburban Homelessness and Social Space: Strategies of Authority and Local Resistance in Orange County, California

Talmadge Wright and Anita Vermund

Wright and Vermund capture the perspective of suburban homeless park dwellers in their analysis of resistance to the authoritative strategies of the government bureaucracy in Orange County, California. From the authors' research, park dwellers struggle with local police and the degradations of applying for welfare, in an attempt to maintain their dignity in a desperate situation. In opposition to the humiliation experienced at the hands of police and punitive eligibility technicians, the park dwellers create extensive social networks and redistribution systems with rigorous rules of fairness. The park dwellers deploy tactics to evade local rules which are often used to force them from the park they occupy. The authors explore fully the deep divisions and confrontations that ensue and recommend that the federal government renew its commitment to the provision of low-cost housing, raising the minimum wage, and creating a national health care system.

"Everyday life invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property of others."

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life.

"To live on the streets is to be a criminal!"

Lester, Garden Grove Park, Garden Grove, California.


INTRODUCTION

Lester, a fifty-four-year-old white male, lives in a small suburban park, Garden Grove Park, in Orange County, California. 1 His forced street living is accompanied by degradation at the hands of local authorities, who perceive him as "out of place" and therefore "out of control." He is a subject to be surveyed and monitored. In living on the streets, he is taking the risk of "poaching" on the property of others in ways that allow him to construct an everyday life at odds with authoritative defini-

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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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