10 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2015
    1. Preventing Homelessness: An Examination of the Transition Resource Action Center This article is focused on determining the success of a transitional residential program in supporting adolescents who age out of the foster care system. The researchers found that the TRAC residential program reduced the likelihood that an adolescent would become homeless, and there was an increase in acquiring temporary housing. The researchers focused on factors contributing to homelessness that were societal and not individual in nature, such as lack of affordable housing and financial stability. Even in discussing personal characteristics of the adolescents the researchers focused on things beyond the individual's control such as physical/mental health problems, depression, and suicide attempts by peers. The participants included in this study were all involved in the TRAC housing assistance program, a majority of which had a history of housing instability and social assistance. The researchers compiled information about the respondents at two time periods, at year 1 and then at year 2. The researchers interviewed each of the participants (n=24) to test them with the Self Sufficiency Matrix which is meant to determine the current stability of the person along with discussing their current habits and describe possible future trends or areas that need to be addressed.

      Analysis: The researchers attempted to be unbiased in their position towards adolescents by their definition of homelessness, though there was a clear focus on moving adolescents into housing instead of other approaches. Though this study does offer insight into a program being successful, we do not fully understand why the program is successful. The researchers cite that education was an important quality to the sufficiency, though this is based on their literature review and not based on the participants in the current study. The authors did note that future research needed to be done on the TRAC program along with youth homelessness because their research stated there may be a possible overarching solution, but that other researchers need to figure out why certain things worked and why others lacked.

  2. Nov 2015
    1. Homelessness in Europe and the United States: A Comparison of Prevalence and Public Opinion I am incredibly glad that this article came up because this article is a comparative study about peoples attitudes, knowledge and opinions concerning homelessness. The authors had telephone interviews with a random sample of adults in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the United States. The study does attempt to differentiate between the different locations, I will focus mainly on the results concerning the United States (because our group's topic is related to status in the United States). Definition of Homelessness in the US: "literal" homeless, who reside in shelters, abandoned buildings, or other public spaces, and those who are homeless but live off of family and friends. Because the interviews were done over the phone its believed that these are accurate descriptions of the public opinion on homeless. Results: Lifetime prevalence of literal homelessness in the United States, meaning the highest levels of homelessness found in the United States and the UK. The adults from the United States might have been less likely to note they were homeless or sympathize with homeless due to the questions relating to homelessness asked if there was a time when they were homeless, instead of other countries being asked if they had ever fallen on hard times. This may have created some differences in attitudes because this was the first question and it could lead to a certain frame of mind. In other countries it was noted that income inequality was a factor in determining homelessness, while in the United States capitalism or high rates of inequality were not listed as a major factor. Apparently there were wide disparities in descriptions and feelings towards homelessness between those who have been homeless and those that have not been homeless, therefore previously homeless were not included in the results. There were lower levels of public support for homeless individuals in the United States, Italy, and the UK. In the United States homelessness was categorized by having a high rate of criminals or perceived criminal intent. In the United States personal failings were an important cause of homelessness. Homeless in the United States are also more likely to be described as drunks or alcoholics. the seriousness of homelessness as a problem was consistent between all of the countries.Estimates of the homeless in the United States (from respondents) placed homeless to be more likely to have children, less likely to be male, and more likely to have regular contact with relatives. Homeless families are actually statistically on the rise, based on recent point in time statistics. (This could be skewed because families are more likely to seek out services).

    1. Brief Report: The Aging of the Homeless Population: Fourteen-Year Trends in San Francisco This article is a longitudinal study of the characteristics of homelessness over a 14 year period. The point of the study was to examine the age, housing, health status, health service utilization, and drug use of the homeless population. The start of the paper discusses the characteristics associated with homelessness which are substance- and alcohol-related problems, mental illness, poor health, decreased access to ambulatory care, high rates of acute care, and high mortality. The sample population were taken from single residency occupancy hotels, meal-service programs, and shelters. The researchers found there was a significant increase in median age, on average there was an increase in the average age by .66 years per calendar year. The median total time being homeless increased on average 2.7 months per calendar year.

      The takeaway from this study for our research project would be that homelessness is defined as persons who spend any night outdoors, in an emergency shelter, or in any other place not meant for habitation.

      The status of homelessness is varied but would include mostly African American (51.7%), few women (22.9%), and very few 65 years or older (1.2%). While drug and alcohol use were questioned there is no clear statistic on the percentage they included, though the trends would suggest that drug and alcohol use is on a downward trend, 40.3% in 1990-1994 down to 28.8% in wave 4 in 2003.

      Note: The author notes that during this time period there were many instances of mandatory drug sentencing for young offenders, this might have reduced the number of younger individuals who are homeless.

    1. The Article is a study found on Google Scholar. The point of the study was to look at the causes of homelessness from the lens of newly homeless individuals in the United States, England, and Australia. Their method was to conduct interviews with individuals that have become homeless during the last two years. The results showed that two-thirds of the subjects had never been homeless before, not chronically homeless. Many of the factors for why individuals were homeless were physical and mental health problems, alcohol abuse, and gambling problems. These problems were across the spectrum throughout each of the countries.<br> The characterization of homelessness is as an individual problem, the reason for their homelessness is a personal issue or something that they caused such as gambling and drug use. Health problems and disabilities were included to a small extent but not touched upon in great detail. The study did detail that in Boston (where the study was conducted) had a large portion of women. The percentage of Blacks that were homeless were much larger percentages in Boston than England or Australia, 47% in Boston while 89% in England were white British. While about 1/5th of respondents said they were ousted from their home, meaning it wasnt characterized as their fault.

      Link: http://psychsocgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/60/3/S152.long Title: The Causes of Homelessness in Later Life: Findings From a 3-Nation Study

  3. Oct 2015
    1. Peter H. Rossi, 84, SOcialogist Who Studied Homelessness, Dies

      So in my article from 2006 from the New York Times I did not get the article I expected. Our group goal was to study the views towards homelessness and I dont think the article highlights that. This article details the life of Peter H. Rossi and focuses on his books on homelessness. The way he characterized homelessness was a shift from the older white male denizens to a "younger, larger group that included many more women, children and minorities". His research suggested a smaller homeless population than official studies might have suggested, 300,000 to 500,000 instead of two to three million. His work was used in policy making on both sides of the aisle to either highlight the failure of certain programs or to strengthen those same programs.

      Analysis: So in this article I found a mostly positive view of homelessness, meaning their was a characterization of homeless individuals as women and children which have a positive social construction. The article did not have a definition of homelessness. I think the intent of the article was to highlight the death of a man who was very involved in homelessness research and the examination of social programs directed at homeless individuals.

    1. 'Without a Net': Mobile Home

      This article is a book review of an essay written by Michelle Kennedy about her life as a waitress raising three children while being homeless. The article details how she came to push beyond the stereotypes of being poor or homeless by being a middle-class housewife (deserving), who was also a mother (protected class), and her hard middle-class work ethic. Her refusal to be classified as poor is seen as a view into the stigmatization of the homeless and poor in 2005. Also the articles focus on individual work ethic and productivity reflects an atmosphere of people are poor or homeless because they dont work hard or are not doing enough really comes through. I think the intent of the article is to give focus to the individualistic view of America in that the choices an individual makes is what produces what they have in the present. The article does not point directly to a negative view of homelessness, by stating homeless individuals or poor individuals are those who just dont work hard enough, but indirectly by saying this person is not poor because they work incredibly hard and have a bad situation. Its a very indirect negative view of homelessness based on my groups defined view of negative and positive definitions of homelessness.

    1. First things first: 'Housing first,' a redical new approach to ending chronic homelessness, is gaining around in Boston

      This article came about in the early years of the Housing First program, which is meant to give housing to homeless individuals (specifically focused on chronically homeless and the hard to house homeless) regardless of their past or current problems such as addiction, disability, etc. The program began near the end of the Bush administration and was a direction by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to begin devoting a third of their funds towards the idea of housing homeless individuals in permanent housing. The article moreso points to a man named Philip Mangano who was appointed to head the homelessness efforts for the Bush administration. The article portrays him as the person who began the discussion and movement towards housing first. The article does a great job of bringing in information from multiple studies and discussing the way cost-benefit analysis was used to further advance the cause of housing first because it showed that the housing first program actually reduced the total costs of homeless individuals because of their reduced dependence on emergency services.

      My goal in looking at this article was to examine it using the social constructionist theory, specifically focusing on who is defined as "needy" or "deserving" and if that matches what we find in the social construction and power typology in the Sabatier and Weible book on page 111. My secondary goal that I found part way through the article was who is the "hero", who is the "victim", and who is the "villain".

      In going through the article it does bring together homeless individuals but it also takes those who are considered to be more deserving of public funds such as children mothers, families, and mentally handicapped. The only negative they seemed to include was drug addicts, which are not listed on the figure in Sabatier and Weible but I infer that they would be considered underserving. So because of this we can see the narrative moving away from these people just being "homeless" in their social construction but they are also mothers, children, and other deserving statuses.

      I didnt expect to see a classification of who is the hero, villain, or victim. Looking towards the end of the article it discusses how the current system (villian) is preventing those who are chronically homeless (victims) from getting help because of their status or current lifestyle choices. Their lifestyle choices are self perpetuating in that they need to seek services to help with that but the services can only offer so much if they cant get housing, but to get housing they need to not have issues such as alcoholism, drug use, etc. So now HUD or state governments (heroes) need to step in and provide housing first programs to give those who who are hardest to reach services.

      The article is going to be used to understand the starting construction of homeless individuals and homeless issues in the start of the housing first program. Coming articles though need to be focused pre-2007 to understand the typology of homeless individuals before the housing first program to see if there has been a shift, or even if homelessness was discussed. It might also be useful to have statistics on homeless point in time studies to see if a spike in homelessness produced these conversations of change or if it was a push by advocates of homelessness programs to change the discussion of the issue.

    1. Homelessness is not a crime

      Summary of article: The article describes the narrative of a few individuals who are homeless such as Katherine who fled emotional and physical abuse, who received a citation for prohibited camping which led her to a cycle of chronic homelessness. Then discussing the marine who after returning from war was unable to live with people and confined spaces and was then cited for trespassing; which led to him going to jail for a few days and having a criminal record. Lastly about Roger who is disabled and homeless but has difficulty finding shelter because he is unable to receive the care he needs, so he ended up in a few homeless camps; roger later received a $1,000 citation for illegal camping. The article specifically goes into detail about the city of Eugene (which the paper is located in) and their use of homeless criminalization policies of prohibited camping, no trespassing in parks, etc. Finishing with a discussion on the changing federal regulations about funding, specifically from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Continuum of Care Program, which gives federal funds to cities seeking to eliminate or diminish homeless populations in their city limits, has now created conditions on this funding in that localities will need to end specific policies that are directly responsible for criminalization of homeless individuals. The article ends witha list of ways the city council can change the direction on criminalizing homeless individuals.

      My take: (I am blunt in my review and in no way wish to offend someone) I think this is an interesting article to analyze in looking at the narrative put forth. We have a woman who escaped her abusive husband, a veteran who needs medical care, and an elderly person on social security. These are segments of our population that can be viewed as needy or deserving of benefits, which makes the narrative of helping the homeless become an issue of providing for the most needy populations. This moves the conversation about from drug users who wound up on the streets to a very personal issue of it could be someone who fought for our country, it could be a woman who escaped a bad situation and is trying to make life better, or a man who because of his limited income was unable to pay for the services he needed. This creates the narrative surrounding the issue which makes the issue become more about helping those who deserve our help.

      It is important to note the article does not mention mental health services, drug use, or other life choices that could have gotten someone on the streets. This is important because those are negative sides of homelessness which the article sought to avoid. Instead using terms such as military veteran, people with disabilities women, and poverty. The issue is not that people made bad choices but that people were put into bad situations and need our help. When we look at people's reaction to this article we find some support reviews and some negative reviews. The negative reviews do seem to bring up that these people are deserving but that the homeless population is not made up of these needy populations and therefore the issue becomes helping the needy ones and criminalizing those who have issues not deemed "worthy".

  4. Sep 2015
    1. Tiny Housing Community Metro Polis Magazine

      The linked article is about the Quixote Village in Olympia, Washington. This is a community of 30 tiny, 144 sq-foot homes, around a common building with a kitchen, shower, laundry facility, and staff offices. The idea for this village emerged from a group of homeless individuals that were part of a tent community moving from church parking lot to church parking lot in 2007. A non-profit called Panza was formed and secured land from Thurston County that is on the edge of Olympia and Tumwater. The village was funded by multiple organizations and sources such as the Washington state Housing Trust Fund, HUD Community Development Block Grants, the City of Olympia, Thurston County, and private contributions. The interesting part is the village is self governed by the residents of Quixote village. While there is an onsite landlord, there is still a committee that addresses community concerns and advises the landlord.

      There are a few very key takeaways from this article. First that there were multiple funders for this project, meaning that there are different jurisdictions that are willing to create a solution but also that it might be necessary for this type of project. Another take away is that the concept of self-governing homeless camps is possible. There is a self-governing homeless camp in Portland Oregon (Dignity Village), but there have been a few articles in the news about the political power struggles of the organization in Dignity Village. While this article doesnt discuss the functionality of the self-governing model I think it is interesting to note that it exists.

    1. The growing number of homeless people has prompted new outlets to write more articles on the ways in which society can help house or service those who are homeless. The article cited below talks about the rise of homeless individuals in Portland and the inability to enforce a camping ban. The camping ban that Portland uses, among many other cities, makes it illegal to establish or maintain a temporary place to live. The Portland Police enforce the camping ban but only when there are complaints about garbage and human waste, which means those who clean up after themselves can continue to illegally camp.

      The use of tent villages has been an oddity for Seattle and parts of Portland. These are basically just small communities of tents in a given area. As the article points out. some of these tent cities have grown to become a public eyesore and have rife cases of disease and health concerns. The city of Portland operates two versions of these tent cities, Dignity Village and the RIght 2 Dream Too rest area. The Right 2 Dream Too recently was given the ability to purchase land in the city of Portland by the Portland City Council, which means they have the right to buy land to create a tent city.

      My groups topic area is broadly housing policy, but looking closely at Homeless housing policy. Looking at the camping bans that have been put in place is one way to look at housing policy directed at homeless individuals, though the city of Portland has gone farther in offering specific areas for homeless individuals to "make camp" in that they don't have to wait for non-profit or emergency housing.

      Link: http://www.oregonlive.com/homeless/2015/06/post_1.html