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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 153383 Find in a Library
Title: Gimme Shelter: A Social History of Homelessness in Contemporary America
Author(s): G Barak
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 212
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Publication Number: ISBN 0-275-94401-8
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This volume describes and analyzes the problem of homelessness in the United States and emphasizes the way society responds to the homeless today cannot be removed or separated from the ideology and practice of social welfare that has been developing in the United States for the past century.
Abstract: It notes that a large percentage of the population recognizes that the new homelessness is a product not only of individual circumstances but, more importantly, of institutional and structural arrangements. Thus, homeless people today include men, women, and children of all racial and ethnic backgrounds; displaced and deinstitutionalized persons; alcoholics, drug addicts, mentally ill persons, and persons with AIDS; physically abused mothers and their babies; adolescents who have been thrown away, have run away, or been sexually abused; neglected older people; migrants, refugees, and Vietnam War veterans. Some communities still regard homeless persons as being more fully responsible and treat them with scorn. In many more communities, a majority of the homeless are relatively invisible, but public and private agencies provide emergency assistance. The text explores the violent nature of homelessness by focusing on both the victimization and the criminalization of the homeless. It reports findings that strongly suggest that the homeless do not pose a serious or dangerous threat to society; instead, the homeless tend to belong more to a class of vulnerable people than to one of hard-core habitual offenders. It recommends recognition of the current inadequate conservative or liberal responses and the replacement of these responses with a preventive strategy to resist homelessness, as part of a new domestic policy based on a willingness to confront the underlying structural nature of the problem. Tables, chapter reference lists, and 56 references
Main Term(s): Victims of Crime
Index Term(s): Criminology; Homeless persons; Homelessness causes; Social reform
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