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NCJ Number: 141208 Find in a Library
Title: Ideology, Public Policy, and Homeless Families
Journal: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:special issue (December 1992)  Pages:113-128
Author(s): P Gulati
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 16
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the problems unique to homeless children and families in the U.S., assessing the extent, characteristics, and essential sources of their situation.
Abstract: In New York City alone in 1986, half the 27,000 persons in homeless shelters were children in families headed by a single parent; 80 percent of those families were on welfare. Especially troubling is the changing nature of the homeless population from alcoholics and former mental patients to functioning adults and families with children. There is also an increasing number of working poor among the homeless. Despite evidence that homelessness is caused in large part by inadequate sources of affordable housing, all levels of government have treated the phenomenon as a temporary problem. Policymakers in the 1980's debated the limits of social obligation toward the needy, with conservative ideologues arguing that policies should distinguish between the deserving and the undeserving poor. This ideology has had a devastating impact on low-income women and children in terms of income and access to housing and public solutions to family homelessness. The government response to house families in shelters and welfare hotels had dire consequences in the emotional and physical effects upon children and in costs to the taxpayer. An approach addressing both individualistic and structural explanations for homelessness must be developed to meet the needs of this heterogenous population. 48 references
Main Term(s): Homeless children; Homeless persons
Index Term(s): Crisis shelters; Public housing
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