If you are interested in exploring the connections that exist amongst race, gender, age and policy in the process of defining modern homelessness, below is an annotated bibliography that includes relevant source information. I would also love suggestions and additional source materials, so if you are examining this topic in your own work, I would love to know what you have come up with!
Lily Rowen Race, Gender, Age, and Modern Homelessness
Annotated Bibliography–Source Information for Modern Homelessness
Bassuk, E. L., & Rosenberg, L. (1988). Why Does Family Homelessness Occur? A Case-Control study. American Journal of Public Health, 78(7), 783-788. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.78.7.783
This article attempts to uncover causes of family homelessness in the 1980s. The research design employed in the article compares 49 female-headed homeless families with 81 housed female-headed families in Boston and determines that homelessness is more likely in families with histories and/or patterns of drug and alcohol abuse and serious psychiatric problems. The study is a good example of the flawed race and ethnicity methods in a lot of studies on homelessness in the 1980s and 1990s. The study uses only the categories of “White” and “Non-White” to describe participants’ race and ethnicity, continuing the pattern of accepting a race/ethnicity binary that is dependent on whiteness that permeates much of the research on homelessness in this decade.
Burrows, R., Pleace, N., & Quilgars, D. (1997). Homelessness and Social Policy. London: Routledge.
While this book’s focus is on homelessness in England, Chapter 3, titled “Theorising Homelessness: Contemporary Sociological and Feminist Perspectives” (Joanne Neale), provides ideas for productive methodological approaches that should be employed in the United States when analyzing and researching homelessness.
Burt, M. R. (1992). Over the Edge: The Growth of Homelessness in the 1980s. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
This book provides insights into the perceived causes of the increase in homelessness in the 1980s. The economic downturn of the early 1980s with attention to increasing housing costs and decreasing incomes is discussed in correlation to the increase in homelessness.
Cackley, A. P. (2011). Homelessness: To Improve Data and Programs, Agencies Have Taken Steps to Develop a Common Vocabulary (pp. 1-10) (United States of America, United States Government Accountability Office). Washington D.C.
This report finds that differences in definitions of “homeless” and “homelessness” still exist amongst various government organizations, showing that implementation of the 2009 HEARTH Act is not complete and more work needs to be done to standardize the definitions of “homeless” and “homelessness” in the United States.
Cackley, A. P. (2012). Homelessness: Fragmentation and Overlap in Programs Highlight the Need to Identify, Assess, and Reduce Inefficiencies (Vol. GAO-12-491,, pp. 1-73) (United States of America, United States Government Accountability Office). Washington D.C.
The clients of programs targeting homelessness are struggling to navigate services, as there is much overlap amongst government agencies.
Epps, A. M. (1998). Children living in temporary shelters: How homelessness effects their perception of home. New York, NY: Garland Pub.
This book discusses the effects of chronic and temporary homelessness on children. The author uses the categories of “new homeless” and “old homeless” to posit reasons for the demographic changes in homeless children.
Hombs, M. E. (2001). American Homelessness: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
This book details homelessness policy, strategies, data, and research through 2000.
Hombs, M. E. (2011). Modern Homelessness: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
This book provides a chronology of modern homelessness and attitudes towards homeless individuals. The author utilizes policy and government documents, statistical data, biographical sketches, and information on organizations working with the homeless to construct the book’s theses.
Kyle, K. (2013). Contextualizing homelessness: Critical theory, homelessness, and federal policy addressing the homeless . New York, NY: Taylor and Francis. Retrieved April 13, 2014, from http://www.eblib.com
This book attempts to create a “critical theory of homelessness” using the language of social constructionism and critical policy analysis (and historical policy analysis).
Link, B., Susser, E., Stueve, A., Phelan, J., Moore, R. E., & Steuning, E. (1994). Lifetime and Five-Year Prevalence of Homelessness in the United States. The American Journal of Public Health, 84(12), 1907-1912. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.35.12.1319
This article analyzes the results of a telephone survey (random digit dialing) of Americans on their experiences with homelessness. The article adds to the discussion on the definition of homelessness the two categories of “Lifetime Homelessness” and “Five-Year Homelessness”. While the results and study design rely on census data and the rigid census categories for race and ethnicity, the study finds that there were no significant trends showing increased homelessness in any particular racial or ethnic group, or for that matter, in any gender, age, or marital status group. These results differ greatly from the majority of the conclusions on homelessness from studies being conducted in the 1990s which usually concluded that most homeless individuals were male, single, young, and African American. The authors of this study also attempted to build geographic diversity into their study design by including study participants in rural, urban, and suburban communities.
Murphy, J., & Tobin, K. (2011). Homelessness Comes to School. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
This book outlines the history of youth homelessness and suggests strategies for assisting homeless youth in schools and eventually eliminating homelessness. Chapters 2 and 3 have been particularly useful, as they provide background information on the construction of the term and concept of “homelessness” and provide information about the demographics of homeless children and why the demographic statistics are important.
Poppe, B. (2010). Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness (pp. 1-74, Rep.). Washington D.C.: United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.
The 2010 report by the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness outlines strategies for preventing and ending homelessness, as well as the perceived causes and effects related to homelessness and supporting statistical data.
Robertson, M. J., & Greenblatt, M. (1992). Homelessness: A national perspective. New York, NY: Plenum Press.
The book attempts to shift focus from research on homeless individuals to the policies that contributed to their homelessness, including economic policies, housing policies, social policies, and especially mental health practices and policies.
Robinson, C. (2011). Beside One’s Self: Homelessness Felt and Lived. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Robinson builds on the work of Cooper and Chamberlayne who find the absence of emotion in formal discussions of homelessness to be problematic. Robinson critiques the narrow definitions of homelessness for policy and housing purposes and advocates for more critical inquiries into the meanings attached to the concept of “homelessness”. Robinson believes that interdisciplinary methodologies provide the best path forward for policy making and research on homeless populations.
Rossi, P. H. (1989). Down and out in America: The origins of homelessness. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
This book uses historical analysis, sociology, and case histories to explore the connection between homelessness and extreme poverty.
Shumsky, N. L. (2012). Homelessness. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.
This book looks at the history of homelessness (and policies targeting and/or affecting the homeless) in three periods of American history: late 1800s-early 1900s; 1930s-1970s; 1970s-present. Part III details the role of race and ethnicity in HUD’s “counting” policies and Chapter 39 discusses the concept of “homelessness” and “home” for Latinos.
Wailoo, K. (2010). Katrina’s Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
This book explores the concepts of “home” and “homelessness” in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina and explains how “domestic ideology” has shaped racial injustice in homeless policies. The author uses policy analysis, historical discussions, and economic explanations to show that “domestic ideology” in the Southern United States has contributed to racist policies and rigid racial categories. The author uses the term “gothic homelessness” to describe the “physical and cultural displacement” (98) and violations of space endured by citizens of color in New Orleans.
Watson, S., & Austerberry, H. (1986). Housing and Homelessness: A Feminist Perspective. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
History of homeless women and housing policy in England using feminist epistemologies and methods.