Beside the Golden Door: Policy, Politics, and the Homeless

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Overview

Written for the general public as well as for specialists, this volume details some of the numerous dimensions of the homelessness issue: the rise in poverty; the decline of low-income housing: problems in counting the homeless; the role of familial estrangement; mental illness; substance abuse; and health status and behaviors. The authors conclude with discussions of rural versus urban homelessness, street children in Latin America, and homelessness in postindustrial societies.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Three Tulane University sociologists fly into the eye of the controversies raging over homelessness: theories, demographics (including "yuffies," young urban failures) health status, presence beyond American cities, and future trends. In contrast to those who argue that the personal disabilities of this population keep them on the streets, this volume is based on work by Wright and his colleagues since his 1989 Address Unknown: The Homeless in America locating the phenomenon's roots in rising poverty and declining low-income housing. The title refers to the Statue of Liberty's invitation to "... the homeless, tempest-tost... I lift my lamp beside the golden door." Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
“Wright et al. have skillfully assembled a competent and readable introduction to the issue of homelessness in the US. Their firsthand involvement with various projects such as the New Orleans Homeless Substance Abusers Program, Health Care for the Homeless, and efforts during the 1990 census to count the homeless will also provide undergraduates with valuable examples of linkages between sociological theory and practice, and demonstrate how both are relevant to the creation of public policy… [I]t represents a solid background resource… General readers; upper-division undergraduates.” M. A. Olshan, Choice “[I]nformative and thought provoking… The book reads well and provides a good overview of the field.” —Timothy P. Johnson, Journal of the American Planning Association “In this well-written, jargon-free book, Wright, Rubin, and Devine argue for the complexity of homelessness… Both the content and style of this book make an excellent instructive read for students, practitioners, and scholars alike. Each will find the book eye opening and the issues it raises troubling.” —James W. Trent, Social Forces
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joel A. Devine is chair of the Department of Sociology at Tulane University.

James D. Wright is provost distinguished research professor in the department of sociology at the University of Central Florida. He also serves as director of the University of Central Florida Institute for Social and Behavioral Sciences, and as editor-in-chief of the journal Social Science Research. He has published more than a dozen books, including Armed and Considered Dangerous and Under the Gun as well as many journal articles. His current research interests include violence, urban poverty and inequality, health and the homeless population, and the “divorce reform” movement.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 The Homeless: What Are the Issues? What Are the Controversies? 1
2 Counting the Homeless 31
3 Why the Homeless Can't Be Counted 53
4 Poverty, Housing, and Homelessness 65
5 Families and Family Estrangement 93
6 Mental Illness and Substance Abuse 105
7 Why Alcohol and Drug Treatment Is Not the Solution 127
8 Health and Health Status 147
9 Outside American Cities: Rural and European Homelessness 177
10 Street Children in North and Latin America 195
11 Homelessness in the Twenty-First Century 209
References 217
Index 233
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