Beyond Homelessness: Frames of Reference by Benedict Giamo, Jeffrey Grunberg

By Benedict Giamo, Jeffrey Grunberg

Good points interviews with 9 people who speak about the standards that give a contribution to homelessness.

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I think there was something like twenty thousand people going through that camp in the course of about six months. The research he undertook and later published [Herman J. P. Schubert, Twenty Thousand Transients: A Year's Sample of Those Who Apply for Aid in a Northern City (1935)] was undertaken by white-collar transients whom he put to work making handtabs of each person who came in with such information as age, sex, etc. The transients were largely young men who went from place to place looking for work.

I am envious of the economists. They seem to know more. GRUNBERG: What do you mean: "They . . know more"? Page 7 ROSSI: Well, they have theories about how things work. Economists say that people are motivated by incentives and they are deterred by penalties. So all you have to do is work out the proper schedule of benefits to accomplish social change. GRUNBERG: B. F. Skinner? ROSSI: Sort of, but on a very large scale. The major incentives for a corporation are the profits and, for people, wages and salaries.

ROSSI: It is race which makes them vulnerable to being plucked out of the economy. Race and poor education, etc. GRUNBERG: Often these facts are used to fuel racist commentary. " ROSSI: Well, we have lost perspective then, because in the nineteenth century the problems of the Irish were exactly what the problems of the blacks are today. A lot of female-headed households, a lot of homeless young men who were transients. The Bowery was full of Irish and Germans, but they got out of it because the economy changed.

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