- LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 26 June 2012
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0129
- LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 26 June 2012
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0129
Homelessness is a complex social problem. Homelessness affects people of both genders and all ages and racial and ethnic groups; however, single men and children younger than five living in low-income families are disproportionally represented among the homeless population. A US government report estimates a one-day prevalence of close to 650,000 sheltered and unsheltered homeless people nationwide and a twelve-month prevalence of close to 1.56 million people using an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program. Homelessness intersects with an array of other social problems, including mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, child neglect and abuse, foster care, and criminal justice. Regardless of the personal vulnerabilities that put an individual at risk of homelessness, agreement is general that structural factors, notably the shortage of affordable housing, structural unemployment, and poverty, contributed to the emergence, growth, and persistence of homelessness during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The complex and dynamic interplay of structural and individual factors has been documented in in-depth accounts of persons coping with homelessness through the use of different subsistence strategies. Public response toward homelessness and public policy for preventing or ending homelessness has evolved over time, representing an increasing acknowledgment of the multifarious nature of homelessness.
Homelessness emerged as a major social problem in the early 1980s, and since then a plethora of edited works has appeared, providing an overview of the problem and solutions. This section includes works that look at the different dimensions of homelessness. Lee, et al. 2010 provides a summary and citations of key social science research studies. For a more detailed description of the different dimensions and faces of homelessness, Levinson 2004 and McNamara 2008 are useful resources. Dennis, et al. 2007 is an update of research on homelessness. The contributors to McNamara 2008 include noted scholars, policymakers, and advocates. Wright, et al. 1998 can be used as a textbook for college-level classes on homelessness.
Dennis, Deborah, Gretchen Locke, and Jill Khadduri, eds. 2007. Toward understanding homelessness: The 2007 National Symposium on Homelessness Research. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This publication is a compendium of twelve articles presented at the second National Symposium on Homelessness Research in 2007. In addition to housing, health, and human services, which were the main focus of the first symposium in 1998, the compendium includes papers on employment, veterans, and the criminal justice system—topics that are regarded as critical to understanding the complexity of homelessness in the 21st century.
Lee, Barrett A., Kimberly A. Tyler, and James D. Wright. 2010. The new homelessness revisited. Annual Review of Sociology 36:501–521.
This is a useful review of the academic literature on homelessness. Topics include (a) conceptual questions surrounding homelessness; (b) homeless population size, composition, and distribution; (c) homeless people’s life chances; (d) coping strategies employed to meet basic needs; (e) explanations for homelessness; (f) public views and media coverage; and (g) actions taken to address homelessness. The bibliography contains exemplary works in the field. Available online for purchase or by subscription.
Levinson, David, ed. 2004. Encyclopedia of homelessness. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
This reference tool covers a comprehensive range of topics, including causes of homelessness; historical perspectives; housing, health, and lifestyle issues; policy; and homeless service systems. It features two volumes with 155 extended essays, providing reviews of the extant literature on homelessness. Other useful resources include a bibliography of autobiographical and fictional accounts of homelessness, a filmography on homelessness, and a directory of street newspapers.
McNamara, Robert H., ed. 2008. Homelessness in America. 3 vols. Westport, CT: Praeger.
This three-volume set constitutes a comprehensive overview of the faces of (Volume 1), causes of (Volume 2), and solutions to (Volume 3) homelessness. Taken together, the thirty-four chapters included in the volumes provide a valuable resource for understanding homelessness as a multifaceted social problem in terms of its demographics, its linkage to other complex social issues, and the diverse strategies proposed for its solution.
Wright, James D., Beth A. Rubin, and Joel A. Devine. 1998. Beside the golden door: Policy, politics, and the homeless. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
This book covers various dimensions of homelessness, including the demographics of homeless people, poverty, family estrangement, mental illness and substance abuse, drug and alcohol treatment, and physical health. The authors applied both a structural view and an individual vulnerability view on homelessness. In addition, the book examines rural and European homelessness as well as street children in North America and Latin America.
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- Adolescent Depression
- Adolescent Pregnancy
- Adoption Home Study Assessments
- Adult Protective Services in the United States
- African Americans
- Aging out of foster care
- Aging, Physical Health and
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Problems
- Alcohol and Drug Problems, Prevention of Adolescent and Yo...
- Alcohol Problems: Practice Interventions
- Alcohol Use Disorder
- Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
- Anti-Oppressive Practice
- Asian Americans
- Asian-American Youth
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Baccalaureate Social Workers
- Behavioral Health
- Behavioral Social Work Practice
- Bereavement Practice
- Brief Therapies in Social Work: Task-Centered Model and So...
- Bullying and Social Work Intervention
- Canadian Social Welfare, History of
- Case Management in Mental Health in the United States
- Central American Migration to the United States
- Child Maltreatment Prevention
- Child Neglect and Emotional Maltreatment
- Child Poverty
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Child Welfare
- Child Welfare and Child Protection in Europe, History of
- Child Welfare Practice with LGBTQ Youth and Families
- Children of Incarcerated Parents
- Christianity and Social Work
- Chronic Illness
- Clinical Social Work Practice with Adult Lesbians
- Clinical Social Work Practice with Males
- Cognitive Behavior Therapies with Diverse and Stressed Pop...
- Cognitive Processing Therapy
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Community Development
- Community Policing
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Community-Needs Assessment
- Comparative Social Work
- Computational Social Welfare: Applying Data Science in Soc...
- Conflict Resolution
- Council on Social Work Education
- Counseling Female Offenders
- Criminal Justice
- Crisis Interventions
- Cultural Competence and Ethnic Sensitive Practice
- Culture, Ethnicity, Substance Use, and Substance Use Disor...
- Dementia Care
- Dementia Care, Ethical Aspects of
- Depression and Cancer
- Development and Infancy (Birth to Age Three)
- Differential Response in Child Welfare
- Digital Storytelling for Social Work Interventions
- Direct Practice in Social Work
- Disability and Disability Culture
- Domestic Violence Among Immigrants
- Early Pregnancy and Parenthood Among Child Welfare–Involve...
- Eating Disorders
- Ecological Framework
- Economic Evaluation
- Elder Mistreatment
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Epigenetics for Social Workers
- Ethical Issues in Social Work and Technology
- Ethics and Values in Social Work
- European Institutions and Social Work
- European Union, Justice and Home Affairs in the
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Finding Evidence
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Issues, Controversies...
- Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
- Families with Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Parents
- Family Caregiving
- Family Group Conferencing
- Family Policy
- Family Services
- Family Therapy
- Family Violence
- Fathering Among Families Served By Child Welfare
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
- Field Education
- Financial Literacy and Social Work
- Financing Health-Care Delivery in the United States
- Forensic Social Work
- Foster Care
- Foster care and siblings
- Gay Men
- Gender, Violence, and Trauma in Immigration Detention in t...
- Generalist Practice and Advanced Generalist Practice
- Group Work
- Group Work across Populations, Challenges, and Settings
- Group Work, Research, Best Practices, and Evidence-based
- Harm Reduction
- Health Care Reform
- Health Disparities
- Health Social Work
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, 1900–1950
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, 1950-1980
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, pre-1900
- History of Social Work from 1980-2014
- History of Social Work in China
- History of Social Work in Northern Ireland
- History of Social Work in the Republic of Ireland
- History of Social Work in the United Kingdom
- HIV/AIDS Prevention with Adolescents
- Homelessness Outside the United States
- Human Needs
- Human Trafficking, Victims of
- Immigrant Integration in the United States
- Immigrant Policy in the United States
- Immigrants and Refugees
- Immigrants and Refugees: Evidence-based Social Work Practi...
- Immigration and Health Disparities
- Immigration and Intimate Partner Violence
- Immigration and Poverty
- Immigration and Spirituality
- Immigration and Substance Use
- Impact of Emerging Technology in Social Work Practice
- Impaired Professionals
- Implementation Science and Practice
- Indigenous Peoples
- Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employmen...
- In-home Child Welfare Services
- Intergenerational Transmission of Maltreatment
- International Social Welfare
- International Social Work
- International Social Work and Education
- International Social Work and Social Welfare in Southern A...
- Internet and Video Game Addiction
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
- Intervention with Traumatized Populations
- Intimate-Partner Violence
- Juvenile Justice
- Kinship Care
- Korean Americans
- Latinos and Latinas
- Law, Social Work and the
- LGBTQ Populations and Social Work
- Life Span
- Mainland European Social Work, History of
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Management and Administration in Social Work
- Maternal Mental Health
- Measurement, Scales, and Indices
- Medical Illness
- Men: Health and Mental Health Care
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Diagnosis and the Addictive Substance Disord...
- Mental Health Needs of Older People, Assessing the
- Mental Illness: Children
- Mental Illness: Elders
- Middle East and North Africa, International Social Work an...
- Military Social Work
- Mixed Methods Research
- Moral distress and injury in social work
- Motivational Interviewing
- Native Americans
- Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
- Neighborhood Social Cohesion
- Neuroscience and Social Work
- Nicotine Dependence
- Occupational Social Work
- Organizational Development and Change
- Pain Management
- Palliative Care
- Palliative Care: Evolution and Scope of Practice
- Pandemics and Social Work
- Parent Training
- Philosophy of Science and Social Work
- Physical Disabilities
- Podcasts and Social Work
- Police Social Work
- Political Social Work in the United States
- Positive Youth Development
- Postmodernism and Social Work
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Practice Interventions and Aging
- Practice Interventions with Adolescents
- Practice Research
- Primary Prevention in the 21st Century
- Productive Engagement of Older Adults
- Profession, Social Work
- Promoting Smart Decarceration as a Grand Challenge
- Psychiatric Rehabilitation
- Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Theory
- Psychopathology and Social Work Practice
- Psychopharmacology and Social Work Practice
- Psychosocial Framework
- Psychosocial Intervention with Women
- Psychotherapy and Social Work
- Qualitative Research
- Race and Racism
- Readmission Policies in Europe
- Redefining Police Interactions with People Experiencing Me...
- Religiously Affiliated Agencies
- Reproductive Health
- Research Ethics
- Restorative Justice
- Risk Assessment in Child Protection Services
- Risk Management in Social Work
- Rural Social Work in China
- Rural Social Work Practice
- School Social Work
- School Violence
- School-Based Delinquency Prevention
- Services and Programs for Pregnant and Parenting Youth
- Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: Adults
- Sexual and Gender Minority Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylu...
- Sexual Assault
- Single-System Research Designs
- Social Development
- Social Insurance and Social Justice
- Social Intervention Research
- Social Justice and Social Work
- Social Movements
- Social Planning
- Social Policy
- Social Policy in Denmark
- Social Security in the United States (OASDHI)
- Social Work and Islam
- Social Work and Social Welfare in East, West, and Central ...
- Social Work and Social Welfare in Europe
- Social Work Education and Research
- Social Work Leadership
- Social Work Luminaries: Luminaries Contributing to the Cla...
- Social Work Luminaries: Luminaries contributing to the fou...
- Social Work Luminaries: Luminaries Who Contributed to Soci...
- Social Work Regulation
- Social Work Research Methods
- Social Work with Interpreters
- Solution-Focused Therapy
- Strategic Planning
- Strengths Perspective
- Strengths-Based Models in Social Work
- Supplemental Security Income
- Survey Research
- Sustainability: Creating Social Responses to a Changing En...
- Syrian Refugees in Turkey
- Systematic Review Methods
- Task-Centered Practice
- Technology Adoption in Social Work Education
- Technology for Social Work Interventions
- Technology, Human Relationships, and Human Interaction
- Technology in Social Work
- Terminal Illness
- The Impact of Systemic Racism on Latinxs’ Experiences with...
- Transdisciplinary Science
- Translational Science and Social Work
- Transnational Perspectives in Social Work
- Transtheoretical Model of Change
- Tribal child welfare practice in the United States
- United States, History of Social Welfare in the
- Universal Basic Income
- Veteran Services
- Vicarious Trauma Redefining PTSD
- Victim Services
- Virtual Reality and Social Work
- Welfare State Reform in France
- Welfare State Theory
- Women and Macro Social Work Practice
- Women's Health Care
- Work and Family in the German Welfare State
- Workforce Development of Social Workers Pre- and Post-Empl...
- Working with Non-Voluntary and Mandated Clients
- Young and Adolescent Lesbians
- Youth at Risk
- Youth Services