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Disrupting Homelessness: Alternative Christian Approaches

Disrupting Homelessness: Alternative Christian Approaches

by Laura Stivers


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Disrupting Homelessness unmasks the futile assumptions of our present approaches to homelessness and suggests ways in which Christians and Christian communities can create a prophetic social movement to end poverty and homelessness.

The American dream, as conveyed by the media, includes owning a home. Increasingly, people are homeless or precariously housed because of joblessness, foreclosure, or dislocation. Ecclesial responses to homelessness and housing vary. Some Christian organizations focus on fixing the person and the behaviors that contribute to homelessness. Others promote home ownership for lowincome households.

Employing a disruptive Christian ethics, Laura Stivers criticizes both approaches, outlines an advocacy approach for churches to address the multiple causes of homelessness, and calls us to make a home for all in God's just and compassionate community.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800697976
Publisher: 1517 Media
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Series: Prisms
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 698,204
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Laura Stivers is Full Professor of Social Ethics and Director of the Graduate Humanities program at Dominican University of California. She is the author of Disrupting Homelessness: Alternative Christian Approaches; Co-author of Christian Ethics: A Case Method Approach; and Co-editor of Justice in a Global Economy: Strategies for Home, Community, and World. She serves on the leadership team of the Marin Interfaith Homeless Chaplaincy and works with Standup for Neighborly Novato to promote affordable housing in Marin County, CA. She also gets students involved in the community through service-learning classes. In her academic discipline Laura serves on the Board of the Society of Christian Ethics and was a past President of the Southeast Commission for the Study of Religion.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

Structure of This Book 4

1 Solidarity with the Homeless 7

Placing Subjugated Lives and Voices at the Moral Center 9

Unraveling Social Ideologies 11

Examining Power, Privilege, and Social Domination 13

Identifying Victimization and Agency 16

Creating a Social Movement 17

Discussion Questions 20

2 Homelessness and Housing in the United States 21

Historical Snapshot of Homelessness and Housing 22

Current Understandings and Demographics of Homelessness 29

Causes of Homelessness 33

Current Situation of Housing and Homelessness 39

Conclusion 41

Discussion Questions 42

3 Dominant Ideologies on Housing and Homelessness 43

Homeowners as Responsible and Autonomous Citizens 44

Homeless as Deviant and Dependent Nonpersons 48

Alternative Images of the Homeless 52

Dominant Responses to Homelessness 56

Conclusion 65

Discussion Questions 66

4 Rescue and Recovery Response 68

Individual Behavior as Cause of Homelessness 71

Spiritual Transformation 75

Discipline to Avoid Dependency 81

Race and Gender Neutrality 83

Conclusion 85

Discussion Questions 86

5 Low-Income Homeownership Response 87

Homeownership as Transformative 90

Ideal Family and Home 93

A Hand Up, Not a Handout 96

Changing the Consciousness of the Rich 99

Building Communities of Commonality 101

Conclusion 103

Discussion Questions 104

6 Prophetic-Disruption Assessment and Response 105

Empowering Aspects of Models 106

Blaming the Undeserving Homeless 108

Uplifting the Deserving Homeowner 113

Minimal Structural Critique 116

Becoming a More Compassionate Society 119

Discussion Questions 122

7 A Home for All in God's Just and Compassionate Community 123

Building a Social Movement to End Homelessness 127

Congregational Listening, Educating, Advocating, and Organizing 132

Conclusion 146

Discussion Questions 147

Notes 149

Selected Bibliography and Resources 177

Index 183

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