On Becoming Homeless: The Shelterization Process for Homeless (Hardback)
  • On Becoming Homeless: The Shelterization Process for Homeless (Hardback)

On Becoming Homeless: The Shelterization Process for Homeless (Hardback)

Hardback Published: 28/10/1997
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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.

Publisher: University Press of America
ISBN: 9780761808381

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