ERIC Number: ED328759
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
The Paradox of Homelessness in America.
Levitan, Sar A.; Schillmoeller, Susan
Homelessness is a growing problem in the midst of relative prosperity. However, as the problem persists, the public may be becoming increasingly less compassionate to the homeless and annoyed by the problem. Although it is difficult to determine how many people are homeless, the most widely circulated estimate puts their number at about 600,000. Single men, including the chronically mentally ill, make up the vast majority of the homeless population; families with children probably account for about 15 percent of homeless people. Spotty work histories, deficient education, and very low incomes present barriers to the self-sufficiency of homeless persons. Substance abuse and criminal records are more common among homeless singles than in homeless families. A large contributing factor to the problem of homelessness is a nationwide shortage of affordable rental units for low-income households. The loss of most single room occupancy dwellings as well as drug abuse are also major contributing factors to homelessness. The presence of the chronically mentally ill living on the streets calls for a reexamination of the nation's mental health policies, which have for 30 years called for deinstitutionalization. The high cost of aiding homeless people amidst other pressing unmet needs presents formidable obstacles to expanding assistance to this population. In addition to a major initial investment, about $6 billion would be needed annually to provide job training, employment, and support services as well as hospitalization of the seriously mentally ill. (An appendix describes programs funded under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. Thirty-eight endnotes are included.) (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: George Washington Univ., Washington, DC. Center for Social Policy Studies.
Identifiers: Stewart B McKinney Homeless Assistance Act 1987