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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2001): Homelessness - Overseas

SHELTERING THE HOMELESS IN THE US: SOCIAL IMPROVEMENT AND THE CONTINUUM OF CARE

C. Hoch

Housing Studies, vol. 15, 2000, p. 865-876

Current policy on helping homeless people in the US focuses on use of shelters and social programmes as escalators of social improvement that will lift the homeless from dependence to independence along a continuum of care. Article argues that a more fruitful approach would be to improve the kind and amounts of low rent housing available in mixed residential communities. Such supportive housing needs to be organised to strengthen social reciprocity among households in affordable and relatively diverse residential communities. This requires not only social investment but also innovative design and use of affordable housing alternatives. A Case study of a non-profit sponsored Single Room Occupancy provides one example.