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

By Anna Lou Dehavenon | Go to book overview

Conclusion

Anna Lou Dehavenon

Homelessness in the United States had been increasing for eight years when the idea for this book was suggested in 1988. That increase continues today. The previous chapters have shown how many homeless people are forced to breech the norms of U.S. culture and engage in civil disobedience in order to survive. They also show how public and private social programs fail to prevent poverty and homelessness which are largely the result of important structural changes in the U.S. sociopolitical economy since 1970.

The authors of these chapters do not consider themselves to be public policy experts. However, they agreed to try to frame recommendations on how to prevent homelessness based on the findings from their research. The summary analysis of these recommendations reveals that they fall into four principal categories--(1) temporary shelter, (2) permanent housing, (3) adequate income, and (4) adequate health--thus further substantiating Hopper and Baumohl ( 1994) finding that homelessness is not an isolated phenomenon and the homeless cannot be viewed as "a discrete subclass of the poor."

Presupposing a basic human right to housing ( Paul, Miller, and Paul 1992; Sachar 1994, 1995; Steiner and Alston 1996), this chapter further analyzes these recommendations in terms of the levels of government at which they would be implemented and whether they depend on long or short-term action. It concludes with a discussion of the likelihood of such action being taken in the current political climate which appears to support Draconian cuts in education and human services rather than the investments in the human capital needed for the United States to continue to compete in the global marketplace in an era of "man-made brainpower industries" ( Thurow 1996).

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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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