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On Becoming Homeless: The Shelterization Process for Homeless Families

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On Becoming Homeless, building on Sutherland and Locke's 1936 study of homeless men, defines stages of shelterization as experienced by homeless families. In addition, this study applies Goffman's concept of mortification to an institution that is not a total institution, specifically two homeless shelters. By presenting information gathered using qualitative methods, this work provides a unique view of the experiences of homeless families during their stay in homeless shelters. The stories related by homeless ...

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Overview

On Becoming Homeless, building on Sutherland and Locke's 1936 study of homeless men, defines stages of shelterization as experienced by homeless families. In addition, this study applies Goffman's concept of mortification to an institution that is not a total institution, specifically two homeless shelters. By presenting information gathered using qualitative methods, this work provides a unique view of the experiences of homeless families during their stay in homeless shelters. The stories related by homeless adult family members describe their experiences as they struggled (some unsuccessfully) to regain domiciled status. The stated mission of the shelters in this study was to assist families in finding jobs and homes as quickly as possible and to help them remain domiciled. However, the structure of the shelters were such that families who demonstrated initiative in the early stages of shelterization received fewer rewards than families at later stages. At later stages, families become more dependent upon the shelter staff for problem resolution and followed shelter rules in an unquestioning manner. Thus, as families adapted to shelter life, the result was to hinder rather than foster reentry into the domiciled world. Additionally, this study suggests that as some of the adult members began to identify more closely with other homeless individuals, they became unwilling or unable to utilize resources available through their extended family. This isolation from extended family served to reduce the ability of the homeless family from regaining a home and maintaining a stable domiciled life. The potential result of mortification was to create families who experience growing dependence upon the shelter staff and welfare agencies for their existence.

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Editorial Reviews

Joanna M. Badagliacco
This book is very clearly written and is full of interesting and compelling details. It is an important addition to the study of American urban politics and its mechanism of change.
Booknews
Originally written as a doctoral dissertation in sociology, this book focuses upon the problems of homelessness and the role of shelters in dealing with homeless families. It uses participatory field research at two temporary shelters to analyze the phases of reaction that ensue over time of dwelling among parents residing with their children. The author also discusses how residing at homeless shelters affects survival of family units as well as the quality of relationships between homeless families and their kin. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761808381
  • Publisher: University Press of America
  • Publication date: 11/6/1997
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Ione Y. DeOllos is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreward
Preface
Acknowledgements
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 Homelessness Through Time 11
Ch. 3 Arrangements for Assistance 65
Ch. 4 Meeting the Needs of Homeless Families 79
Ch. 5 Shelter Guests 95
Ch. 6 Household Careers of Homeless Families 111
Ch. 7 The Shelterization Process 123
Ch. 8 The Erlyouts, Uphills, and Lukles 143
Ch. 9 Discussion and Conclusions 165
Ch. 10 A Final Word 191
Appendix: Methodology 201
Bibliography 211
Index 229
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