Gimme Shelter: A Social History of Homelessness in Contemporary America

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According to current projections, the number of homeless in the United States will continue to swell in the 1990s unless more aggressive efforts to combat the problem are initiated. Based upon a thorough analysis of the underlying social and political causes of homelessness in this country, this study takes a hard look at the realities and misconceptions that surround the victims. Gregg Barak demonstrates how current public service programs inadequately address the issue, and proposes governmental policy changes that could prove beneficial.

In an effort to dispel the myths that stereotype the homeless, this study places their plight within the continuing domestic and worldwide economic emergency and defines their demographics according to such factors as age, sex, race, health, and education. Barak's subsequent focus on the violence and criminality associated with the condition and treatment of the homeless uncovers controversial issues of injustice and constitutionality, and aims the discussion toward possible solutions for this burgeoning problem.

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Editorial Reviews

Based on an analysis of the underlying social and political causes of homelessness in America, Barak explores the realities and misconceptions that surround the victims, demonstrates how current public service programs inadequately address the issue, and proposes policy changes that could prove beneficial. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275933203
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/30/1991
  • Pages: 228
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

GREGG BARAK is Professor and Head of the Anthropology and Criminology Department at Eastern Michigan University.

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Table of Contents


The Problem of Homelessness


The Changing Nature of Homelessness

The Political Economy of the New Vagrancy

The Crime of Homelessness versus the Crimes of the Homeless

Confronting the Problem

Responding to Short-Term Homeless Needs

Resisting Homelessness

The Rights of the Homeless

Social Change and Homelessness: Past and Future

Selected Bibliography


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