Homelessness in America: A Reference Handbook

ABC-CLIO. Feb. 2022. 372p. ISBN 9781440874857. $63. REF
In the preface to her helpful guide, sociologist Wakin (Ctr. for Urban Poverty, Bridgewater State Univ.) discusses the prevalence of homelessness in the United States, particularly surprising because it exceeds rates of homelessness and poverty in many less-affluent countries. In the rest of the book, she explains individual and societal factors that contribute to poverty and homelessness, and identifies demographic trends in populations of people who are homeless. The work also sheds light on systemic racism affecting access to housing and explores the history of homelessness in the U.S., with an emphasis on three critical eras: the Great Depression, the 1980s, and the Great Recession. The last three chapters contain primary-source documents (e.g., “The Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress”), print and online resources for further research, and a chronology of homelessness in the United States from the 1920s to the present. The resulting work is practical and invaluable: it will help clear up common misconceptions about homelessness and offers systemic solutions.
VERDICT Wakin’s concise but comprehensive guide is recommended for any reader who wants to understand homelessness in the United States.
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