The Visible Poor: Homelessness in the United States

The Visible Poor: Homelessness in the United States

by Joel Blau, Blau


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Taking an in-depth look at the causes of homelessness in the United States, Joel Blau disproves the convenient myths that most homeless are crazy, drug addicts, or lazy misfits who brought their suffering upon themselves. Systematically reviewing the explanations offered by researchers, politicians, and pundits, he shows that the current crisis was an inevitable result of economic and political changes in recent decades, from the deinstitutionalization of mental patients in the 1960s, to the gentrification of urban neighborhoods in the 1970s, to the evisceration of federal spending on social welfare in the 1980s. Blau argues that current government policies at every level are mired in pointless headcounting and quick-fix solutions that only push the homeless out of sight without touching the underlying causes. He advocates social reforms ranging from a national standard for welfare benefits, a higher minimum wage, and the establishment of a social sector for non-profit, affordable housing. A powerful contribution to public debate on homelessness, The Visible Poor is essential reading for anyone concerned with one of the most pressing problems of our age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195057430
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 03/19/1992
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Joel Blau is Assistant Professor, School of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Table of Contents

Part IWithout A Home
1.The Visible Poor3
2.Who Are the Homeless?15
Part IICouses
3.The Economic Causes of Homelessness33
4.The Contraction of Social Welfare48
6.The Homeless Mentally Ill77
Part IIIThe Response
7.Social Movements, Advocates, and the Law93
8.Municipal Responses109
9.New York City: Wealth, Poverty, and Homeless Individuals133
10.New York City: Wealth, Poverty, and Homeless Families155
Part IVSocial Policy, Social Needs
11.Homelessness and Social Policy173
12.Homelessness and Common Human Needs180

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