America's Shame: Women and Children in Shelter and the Degradation of Family Roles

By Barbara A. Arrighi | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Shelter Life and Women's
Self-Concept

In his study of people without permanent housing, Michael Sosin noted that while many have never held a job, there is evidence that the majority have worked at some point in time. Most worked at blue-collar jobs in early adulthood and then had long periods of irregular and sporadic employment. Still others managed to subsist with some form of income maintenance at some time. 1

The fact that the majority have had income indicates that whatever the precipitating factor, being without a home is not a sudden event for most people. Typically, the loss of one's home follows a downward spiral that exhausts family savings, support from relatives and friends, and often social service resources. 2 Those without homes do not necessarily lack social ties. On the other hand, they may be uninformed about the process or procedure for tapping benefits to escape their predicament. 3 Having examined in chapter 2 the multiplicity of structural variables that are operating in the lives of those who are poor, we now turn attention to the socioemotional cost of being without permanent housing.

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