The Visible Poor

The Visible Poor : Homelessness in the United States

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Taking an in-depth look at the causes of homelessness in the United States, Joel Blau disproves the convenient myths that most homeless are crazy, drug addicts, or lazy misfits who brought their suffering upon themselves. He shows that the current crisis was an inevitable result of economic and political changes in recent decades, systematically reviewing the explanations offered by researchers, politicians and pundits, from the deinstitutionalization of mental patients in the 1960s to the gentrification of urban neighborhoods in the 1970s to the evisceration of federal spending on social welfare in the 1980s. Blau argues that current government policies at every level are mired in pointless headcounting and quick-fix solutions that only push the homeless out of sight without touching the underlying causes. He advocates social reforms ranging form a national standard for welfare benefits, a higher minimum wage, and establishment of a social sector for non-profit, affordable housing. A powerful contribution to public debate on homelessness, The Visible Poor must be read by concerned citizens as well as by policy-makers and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 140.7 x 214.9 x 16.5mm | 253.8g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0195083539
  • 9780195083538

About Joel Blau

About the Author: Joel Blau is Assistant Professor, School of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Stony more

Review quote

"A comprehensive account of contemporary homelessness, homelessness research, and public policy...inclusion of the voice of the "other" (i.e., through statements by homeless people) illustrates a sensitivity to difference and an effort to change the identity of homeless people from their socioeconomic characteristics into more humanly recognizable people...Since the book is written clearly and in an engaging style, scholars and graduate students in many disciplines will find it worthwhile."-Lois M. Takahashi, Contemporary Sociology "Joel Blau has written a book that makes it difficult to remain complacent, and offers stregies and ammunition for the fight. It should be standard reading for every senator, representative, civic and church leader and social worker in the nation."-Kip Tiernan, Journal of Progressive Human Services "This is a timely and sociologically informed analysis of homelessness."-Mathew Kanjirpthinkal, East Texas State University "This book provides a very thorough and good analysis of homelessness in America. It is very readable."-Patrice Donnelly, University of Dayton "Excellent, well-written and clearly focused. Links homelessness to entire range of social welfare policy."-Doris Burton, Indiana University "Provocative commentary, although I wish there had been more of a political/policy slant to the analysis."-Dr. Jacqueline V. Switzer, Southern Oregon State College "A well-rounded and sound approach to a difficult to understand problem. Just what was needed as a springboard to discussion of homelessness in our seminar."-Cheryl Mathews, Christopher Newport University "A lucid, comprehensive account of the evolution of homelessness in American cities....An excellent review of the court cases affecting homeless people and the role of legal advocates within the social movement....A fascinating review of homelessness and the changes in public policy that have contributed to this phenomenon."-Families in Society "A refreshing departure from mainstream analysis of the poor, the homeless and the poorly housed. The book is a well documented examination of the multiple and complex causes of homelessness and an interesting analysis of the various public and private responses to several heterogeneous homeless populations....It will be welcomed by those seeking a single source for the study of homelessness and welfare responses. The book will likely make an important contribution to the discussion of long term solutions as Professor Blau makes a strong case for throwing more and larger lifelines what are quickly becoming America's boat people."-Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare "This book is intended for the intelligent lay reader as well as for professionals from a wide range of mental health specialties. The author is a social policy advocate who not only documents the scope and context of the homelessness problem but also has the courage to offer a solution that will not make him popular in conservative circles." -Readings "[Blau] provides a comprehensive and fresh analysis of the complex causes of homelessness, and a detailed set of recommendations about how to address it. What he proposes is entirely consistnet with the adopted policies of The U.S. Conference of Mayors."-U.S. Mayor Conference Newsletter "The Visible Poor offers a comprehensive look at one of America's most blatant social injustices. Providing a much-needed context, this book takes a broad perspective, analyzing homelessness as a social problem rather than an individual aberration.... Illuminates the socio-political causes of homelessness, while also persuasively arguing for broad-based remedial policies....Thoughtful and provocative."-Maria Foscarinis, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty "Joel Blau's work The Visible Poor combines the best of public policy analysis with a commitment to the poor in America. I will assign it to future Political Science classes when I go back to teaching and do my beset to assign it now to every United States Senator."-Senator Paul Wellstone "This is the best overall book available on the subject of homelessness. It is indispensable for scholars, policy makers, public officials, and serious students. It is the book we will all put on our reading lists in courses on social problems and social policy."-Alfred J. Kahn, Professor (Emeritus), The Columbia University School of Social Work "This illuminating work makes sense of the grim changes overtaking American society, incisively tracing the evolution of U.S. homelessness over the last 20 years."-Publishers Weekly "An important contribution to the homelessness debate....An excellent account, offering a thorough analysis of homelessness. The book is well structured, with broad general discussion supported by detailed case study material, and can be recommended to all who are interested in the wider issues underlying contemporary homelessness."-Housing Studies "Blau's book adds significantly to the growing literature on the contemporary homeless in America."-American Journal of Sociology "Blau's book is bound to contribute to a better understanding of the problem of homelessness. That in itself is a step toward solution."-The Threepenny Review "Blau is an exemplary member of a group of scholars who are reclaiming the study of social policy from compartmentalization of both subject and method....This is a book that deserves a place on the bookshelf of every political scientist with a primary or even occasional interest in the dynamics of health policy....More important, this book should become part of the general knowledge of people who want to acknowledge the benefits that flowed for twenty-five years from 'health services research' and who now want to move on to take account of race, class, gender, and greed in studying health policy."-Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Lawshow more

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4 ratings
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