In their compelling examination of what it means to be truly at home on the street, Jason Wasserman and Jeffrey Clair argue that programs and policies addressing homeless people too often serve only to alienate them. Wasserman and Clair delve into the complex realities of homelessness to paint a gripping picture of individuals - not cases or pathologies - living on the street and of their strategies for daily survival. By exploring the private spaces that those who are homeless create for themselves, as well as their prevailing social mores, the authors explain how well-intentioned policies and programs often only widen the gap between the indigent and mainstream society. The result is an unvarnished look at the culture of long-term homelessness and a fresh approach to reaching this resurgent population. In their compelling examination of what it means to be truly at home on the street, the authors argue that programs and policies designed to assist homeless people too often serve only to alienate them.
Jason Adam Wasserman is assistant professor of sociology at Texas Tech University. Jeffrey Michael Clair is associate professor of sociology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Introduction: Homelessness in the United States. Accessing a Hidden Population. Describing Those Who Are Homeless. Causes of Homelessness. Urban Space and Relations on the Street. The Complex Dispositions of Those on the Street. Street Identities and Creative Resistance. Business, Politics, and the Moving Ghetto. Homeless Services: Healing the Sick. Religious Approaches: Saving Souls. Conclusion: Improving Research, Improving Policy.