Homelessness in the United States--Data and Issues

By Jamshid A. Momeni | Go to book overview

5
Homelessness as a Long-Term Housing Problem in America

Elizabeth D. Huttman

Homelessness is above all due to lack of affordable shelter ( Hoch and Cibulskis, 1985). Those homeless, that is, without permanent shelter, are the most noticeable victims of a severe rental housing crisis in America. They essentially have the problem of being able to obtain only temporary housing in emergency shelters, under deplorable superficial coverage such as lean-to structures, under benches, bridges, or in doorways. For some the shelters are their cars, recreational vehicles, or tents. For the more fortunate it is doubling up with relatives or friends.

The homeless are those who have failed to locate long-term shelter either when they move to a new area or are released from a hospital, mental institution, or prison; it is those who voluntarily leave their past home due to conflict, abuse, or financial inability to pay ( Hopper, 1984; Huttman and Huttman, 1988). Although they occasionally do not find alternative shelter due to their social problems or household characteristics, such as family size and age, the main cause is their inability to pay rent. This strain has forced them to temporary shelter.

For many other Americans this housing affordability crisis puts them at risk of homelessness. The prediction that many more will lack permanent shelter in the future comes from a number of writers ( Hartman, 1987). The recent Conference of Mayors survey found a great increase in homelessness, especially the homeless families, in one year in the 26 cities studied. Cities that in 1983 saw the problem as a temporary one, and the homeless not likely to stay around, now admit it is likely to get worse due to the scarcity of affordable housing ( Goode, 1986).

In this chapter we document the lack of supply of affordable housing in terms of decreased number of SROs (single room occupancy hotels) due to demolition

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Homelessness in the United States--Data and Issues
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figure and Tables ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • 1: Counting the Homeless 1
  • Conclusion 13
  • References 15
  • 2: A Sociodemographic Profile of the Service-Using Homeless: Findings from a National Survey 17
  • References 36
  • 3: Food Sources and Intake of Homeless Persons 39
  • References 60
  • 4: Drug Abuse among Homeless People 61
  • References 76
  • 5: Homelessness as a Long-Term Housing Problem in America 81
  • References 90
  • 6: A Social-Psychiatric Perspective on Homelessness: Results from a Pittsburgh Study 95
  • Conclusions 107
  • References 108
  • References 108
  • References 108
  • 7: Sweat and Blood: Sources of Income on a Southern Skid Row 111
  • References 121
  • 8: Homeless Children and Their Caretakers 123
  • References 132
  • 9: Programs Dealing with Homelessness in the United States, Canada, and Britain 133
  • Conclusions 150
  • Acknowledgments 151
  • References 151
  • 10: Public Policies for Reducing Homelessness in America 153
  • Conclusion 163
  • Note 163
  • References 163
  • 11: No Place to Go: A National Picture of Homelessness in America 165
  • References 182
  • Select Bibliography 185
  • Index 191
  • About the Contributors 195
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