Q: It's almost sneaky.
Lester: Well, it is sneaky. It's perfectly legal. It's for the public. But you have to sneak around, otherwise they're going to cut it off on you.
Q: So even though it's for the public, it's almost like people who are on the streets are not the public.
Lester: That's true. That's it exactly. You have no rights! Public facilities are not available to you. Like in the parks, for instance. Alright, the park closes at eleven o'clock. If you're caught in the park after eleven o'clock, what happens? You're either going to get hassled out or you're gonna be taken down [to the police station]. One of the two. It depends on who the officer is and what his attitude is at that particular time.
It is our contention that local resistance to dominant authoritative strategies based on an inequality in power arises as a means of survival required by particular situations. The adaptations necessary for surviving on the street and securing basic necessities conflict with the life-styles of "housed" persons, and hence, with those state institutions developed to protect and regulate property. Government and private business attempt to mute this conflict by strategically managing specific definitions of space and behavior. Dominant authoritative strategies include but are not limited to exclusions, displacement of conflicts, assimilation of populations and leaders, and repression. Exclusions and repressions appear to be the most common strategies for coping with the homeless, followed by displacement and assimilation.
We have illustrated the main tactics of resistance that the homeless use against authoritative strategies, including forming and using new social networks; maintaining and expanding contact with sympathetic institutions, including advocacy groups; violating established boundaries for use of public and private facilities; and maintaining a high degree of mobility.
The appropriation of public space for private ends is a result of social and economic inequality generated by large disparities in wealth and power. There are many Garden Grove Parks around the country, and federal policy should increase the supply of low-cost housing. However, the provision of housing alone is insufficient for solving all the problems of homelessness. As this chapter illustrates, income and health care should also be addressed. Many members of the study population were on public assistance or working at irregular low-wage jobs, usually without health coverage.
Federal policy should address growing economic and political polarization. The notion that economic growth can, by itself, solve the problems of homelessness is based on the assumption that the effects of growth will "trickle down" to lower- income individuals. However, rarely do the benefits of economic growth reach the