Homelessness: The Extent of the Problem

Homelessness: The Extent of the Problem Homelessness is a major national problem, but the exact extent of the problem is difficult to determine. The homeless are not a homogeneous category of people, but include a wide variety of types. The first problem in establishing the parameters of the homeless population is one of definitions. Different studies have focused on street people, shelter users, people applying for assistance, or those using services. Formal attempts to count the homeless have used indirect counting methods, direct counting methods, and one recent study used a capture—recapture estimation technique. Such methods have some validity in making local estimates, although each has its disadvantages. Attempting to make national estimates is much more difficult, and any national estimate must be regarded with great caution. The numbers of people in specific subgroups of the homeless may be of even greater importance for public policy and planning. While the root causes of homelessness are the scarcity of low‐income housing and the inadequacy of income supports for the poor, there are specific groups of homeless people who need special services. Such groups include the homeless mentally ill, alcoholics and drug abusers, AIDS victims, and families with small children. Assessing the extent of these problems among the homeless is therefore important for planning services. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Social Issues Wiley

Homelessness: The Extent of the Problem

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
1990 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
ISSN
0022-4537
eISSN
1540-4560
D.O.I.
10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb01797.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Homelessness is a major national problem, but the exact extent of the problem is difficult to determine. The homeless are not a homogeneous category of people, but include a wide variety of types. The first problem in establishing the parameters of the homeless population is one of definitions. Different studies have focused on street people, shelter users, people applying for assistance, or those using services. Formal attempts to count the homeless have used indirect counting methods, direct counting methods, and one recent study used a capture—recapture estimation technique. Such methods have some validity in making local estimates, although each has its disadvantages. Attempting to make national estimates is much more difficult, and any national estimate must be regarded with great caution. The numbers of people in specific subgroups of the homeless may be of even greater importance for public policy and planning. While the root causes of homelessness are the scarcity of low‐income housing and the inadequacy of income supports for the poor, there are specific groups of homeless people who need special services. Such groups include the homeless mentally ill, alcoholics and drug abusers, AIDS victims, and families with small children. Assessing the extent of these problems among the homeless is therefore important for planning services.

Journal

Journal of Social IssuesWiley

Published: Jan 1, 1990

References

  • Why does family homelessness occur? A case control study
    Bassuk, Bassuk; Rosenberg, Rosenberg
  • Characteristics of sheltered homeless families
    Bassuk, Bassuk; Rubin, Rubin; Lauriat, Lauriat
  • A risk profile comparison of runaway and non‐runaway youth
    Yates, Yates; MacKenzie, MacKenzie; Pennbridge, Pennbridge; Cohen, Cohen

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