ERIC Number: ED295107
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Homelessness: From the Clients' Perspectives.
Hertzberg, Edwina L.
Although homelessness is not a new phenomenon, the number of homeless people today has fostered mobilization on their behalf by public and private sectors. Principal factors accepted as contributing to homelessness are inadequate low-cost housing, unemployment, chemical dependency, family violence, and inadequate community services for the mentally ill. This study, based on symbolic interaction, examined homeless persons' perspectives of what factors contributed to their homelessness, what life on the street was like for them, and what would help to stabilize their lives. Participant observations and in-depth interviews with 37 homeless people were conducted over 9 months at two drop-in centers serving the homeless. Results revealed a downward spiral of homelessness and survival, and a continuum and typology of homelessness consisting of three groups: (1) Resistors who were determined to get off the street; (2) Teeterers who transmitted a sense of helplessness, depression, and vulnerability; and (3) Accommodators who expressed enjoyment of the homeless life. Group membership appeared dependent on length of time being homeless, attitude toward homelessness, location where staying, reasons for homelessness, literacy, desire for more education, family dysfunction, desire for one's own place, and a realistic hope for the future. Social workers must actively address the causative factors of housing, indadequate services, unemployment, and inadequate income. (Author/NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the National Symposium on Doctoral Research and Social Work Practice (4th, Columbus, OH, April 6-7, 1988).