Cover image for On becoming homeless : the shelterization process for homeless families
On becoming homeless : the shelterization process for homeless families
DeOllos, Ione Y.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, MD : University Press of America, [1997]

Physical Description:
xxxv, 235 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Format :


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HV4505 .D46 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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On Becoming Homeless, building on Sutherland and Locke's 1936 study of homeless men, defines stages of shelterization as experienced by homeless families. In addition, this study applies Goffman's concept of mortification to an institution that is not a total institution, specifically two homeless shelters. By presenting information gathered using qualitative methods, this work provides a unique view of the experiences of homeless families during their stay in homeless shelters. The stories related by homeless adult family members describe their experiences as they struggled (some unsuccessfully) to regain domiciled status. The stated mission of the shelters in this study was to assist families in finding jobs and homes as quickly as possible and to help them remain domiciled. However, the structure of the shelters were such that families who demonstrated initiative in the early stages of shelterization received fewer rewards than families at later stages. At later stages, families become more dependent upon the shelter staff for problem resolution and followed shelter rules in an unquestioning manner. Thus, as families adapted to shelter life, the result was to hinder rather than foster reentry into the domiciled world. Additionally, this study suggests that as some of the adult members began to identify more closely with other homeless individuals, they became unwilling or unable to utilize resources available through their extended family. This isolation from extended family served to reduce the ability of the homeless family from regaining a home and maintaining a stable domiciled life. The potential result of mortification was to create families who experience growing dependence upon the shelter staff and welfare agencies for their existence.

Author Notes

Ione Y. DeOllos is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Table of Contents

Bernard Farber
List of Figuresp. xi
List of Tablesp. xiii
Forwardp. xv
Prefacep. xxi
The Neighborhoodp. xxi
The Shelter's Physical Structurep. xxii
Tent Cityp. xxiii
Baghdad Innp. xxiii
First Floorp. xxiii
Second Floorp. xxiv
Starlight Innp. xxvii
Parenting Classesp. xxviii
Structure of the Classesp. xxix
Notesp. xxx
Acknowledgementsp. xxxiii
Chapter 1 Introductionp. 1
The Studyp. 2
What is a Home?p. 3
Definition of Homelessnessp. 4
The Investigationp. 6
Summaryp. 8
Notesp. 9
Chapter 2 Homelessness Through Timep. 11
Background Influences: Englandp. 12
The Black Plaguep. 13
England: 1400-1700p. 13
Summaryp. 14
The United States: 1700-1980p. 15
Massachusetts of 1700sp. 15
Post-Civil Warp. 16
The Hobop. 16
Anderson's Study of the Hobop. 17
The Great Depressionp. 18
Sutherland and Locke Studyp. 20
World War IIp. 21
1950-1970p. 21
Summaryp. 22
The 1980s to the Presentp. 23
Characteristics of the Current Homeless Populationp. 23
Genderp. 23
Ethnicity/Racep. 36
Agep. 38
Marital Statusp. 39
Educationp. 40
Transiencyp. 40
Summaryp. 41
Ties to Families and Friendsp. 42
Summaryp. 44
Characteristics of Homeless Familiesp. 44
Summaryp. 46
Antecedents to Homelessnessp. 46
Economic Reasonsp. 46
Lack of Affordable Housingp. 47
Deinstitutionalizationp. 49
Personal Reasonsp. 51
Summaryp. 53
Reactions To Homelessnessp. 54
Private Charitable Organizationsp. 54
Activismp. 55
Governmental Reactionsp. 56
Legal Casesp. 57
Summaryp. 60
Summaryp. 61
Notesp. 63
Chapter 3 Arrangements for Assistancep. 65
Reciprocityp. 65
Exchange Relationships with Friends and Neighborsp. 66
Exchanges Help Meet the Needs of Family Membersp. 67
Limitationsp. 69
Forms of Assistancep. 72
When Kin Assistance Failsp. 76
Notesp. 77
Chapter 4 Meeting the Needs of Homeless Familiesp. 79
Arrangements for Meeting Needs Revisitedp. 79
Mothers and Assistance They Receivedp. 84
Mothers and Their Alternative Support Networkp. 88
Notesp. 92
Chapter 5 Shelter Guestsp. 95
Four-Year Account: 1987-1990p. 96
1990 Survey Samplep. 100
Summaryp. 103
Characteristics of Parents in Parenting Classesp. 103
Mothers in Parenting Classesp. 104
The Childrenp. 105
Fathers in Parenting Classesp. 107
Summaryp. 107
Notesp. 109
Chapter 6 Household Careers of Homeless Familiesp. 111
Household Careers of Baghdad Inn Familiesp. 116
Precariously Housedp. 116
Emergency Sheltersp. 119
Transitional Sheltersp. 120
Temporarily Housedp. 120
Street Peoplep. 121
Notesp. 122
Chapter 7 The Shelterization Processp. 123
"I Really Don't Belong Here"p. 123
"Why Doesn't Someone Help?"p. 127
"Following the Steps Will Get Me Out of Here"p. 129
"No Matter What I Do I Can't Get Out"p. 132
"I Guess This is Home for Now"p. 135
Summaryp. 139
Notesp. 140
Chapter 8 The Erlyouts, Uphills, and Luklesp. 143
Introduction to the Familiesp. 144
The Erlyoutsp. 146
First Two Weeksp. 146
Second Two Weeksp. 148
Second Monthp. 148
Moving Outp. 149
Summaryp. 149
The Uphillsp. 150
First Two Weeksp. 150
Second Two Weeksp. 151
Second Monthp. 151
Subsequent Monthsp. 152
Moving Outp. 152
Summaryp. 153
The Luklesp. 155
Previous Experiencesp. 155
The First Nightp. 155
The First Monthp. 156
Subsequent Monthsp. 158
Moving Outp. 158
Summaryp. 159
Summaryp. 161
Notesp. 163
Chapter 9 Discussion and Conclusionsp. 165
Stages and Identitiesp. 165
Roles of Extended Familiesp. 169
The Studyp. 170
Family Life in the Sheltersp. 171
Paths into Homelessnessp. 172
Stages of Shelterizationp. 174
Fluctuations in the Stagesp. 182
Conclusionsp. 186
Limitationsp. 187
Notesp. 189
Chapter 10 A Final Wordp. 191
From Mendicant to Homelessp. 191
Antecedents to Homelessnessp. 194
Reactions to Homeless Peoplep. 196
Suggested Modificationsp. 198
Research Questionsp. 199
Notesp. 200
Appendix Methodologyp. 201
Backgroundp. 201
Preparing for the Fieldp. 202
Deciding to Participatep. 204
In the Fieldp. 207
Leaving the Field and Analyzing the Datap. 209
Summaryp. 209
Notesp. 210
Bibliographyp. 211
Indexp. 229