Homelessness is a haunting social problem that has, by all definitions, outgrown society's conventional solutions. Through their interviews with nine knowledgeable observers who range across the humanities, social and medical sciences, and human services, Giamo and Grunberg examines the nature and conditions of this ongoing crisis. No longer contained by traditional urban skid rows or state mental hospitals, homeless individuals now confront "normal" society face to face—and this "normal" society is at a loss for how to respond. The enormity of the problem has resulted in a stagnation of viable ideas, creating an industry with an endless litany of root cause and quick fix. But as these dialogues point out, there is no one root cause for the fact of homelessness. These timely, penetrating exhanges challenge established misconceptions of this problem.
"Homelessness is the initial focal theme, but these thoughtful exchanges range far beyond it, eschewing simplistic responses to the broader complex context of the condition and position of individuals in American society today. Highly recommended for interested lay readers and academics."—Library Journal
"In a field saturated with studies attempting to assess the myriad of demographic variables associated with the causes and consequences of homelessness, this unique book is a refreshing alternative…[It] belongs on the shelves of anybody interested in the study of issues related to homelessness. Encompassing a wide range of disciplinary, organizational, and political perspectives, it makes for some of the most engaging and thought-provoking reading on the subject yet available."—Contemporary Sociology
Part I: In the American Grain
Permanence and Change: Peter H. Rossi
Chance Beings: Jerzy Kosinski
The Common Good: Sister Mary Rose McGeady, D.C.
Part 2: The Public Interest
Advocacy and Leadership: Hazel Dukes
The Social Welfare: James R. Dumpson
The Politics of Mental Health: Herbert Padres
Part 3: The Shapes of Social Conflict
Victims and Survivors: Robert Jay Lifton
Homelessness and Social Distress: Robert W. Rieber
The Human Context of Homelessness: Robert Coles
Notes on Contributors