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ERIC Number: EJ1046709
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2327-3607
The Multi-Dimensional Lives of Children Who Are Homeless
Grineski, Steve
Critical Questions in Education, v5 n3 p203-217 Fall 2014
It is widely reported that children who are homeless are victimized by overwhelming challenges like poverty and ill-advised policy decisions, such as underfunding the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This act is the only federal legislation devoted to this marginalized group. Children who are homeless, however, should not be characterized as single-dimensional and hapless victims solely defined by this unwanted status. This kind of deficiency-thinking leads to presumptions, generalizations, and a narrow ascribing of not just their abilities, but their full humanity as well. Deficit-thinking may cause human service providers to try and "fix and manage" children who are homeless, instead of building on their interests, gifts, and talents. Viewing children who are homeless as multi-dimensional and unfinished, with "hopes, dreams, and aspirations...passions and commitments... [and] skills, abilities, and capacities..." should be the reality for the more than one million children who are homeless. This manuscript provides a richer understanding for the multi-dimensional lives of children who are homeless. Interviews conducted with key stakeholders and surveys completed by children staying at an emergency homeless shelter located in a Midwestern mid-size city inform preliminary ethnographic findings presented here. Generated from a two-year community- and shelter-based activity program these findings push back against a narrowing social construction of children who are homeless, as do several studies investigating this idea. A more holistic narrative that illustrates multidimensional children who act on varied interests, gifts, and talents are suggested.
Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Stewart B McKinney Homeless Assistance Act 1987
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A