Homeless: Poverty and Place in Urban America by Ella HowardHomeless: Poverty and Place in Urban America by Ella Howard

Homeless: Poverty and Place in Urban America

byElla Howard

Hardcover | January 24, 2013

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The homeless have the legal right to exist in modern American cities, yet antihomeless ordinances deny them access to many public spaces. How did previous generations of urban dwellers deal with the tensions between the rights of the homeless and those of other city residents? Ella Howard answers this question by tracing the history of skid rows from their rise in the late nineteenth century to their eradication in the mid-twentieth century.

Focusing on New York's infamous Bowery, Homeless analyzes the efforts of politicians, charity administrators, social workers, urban planners, and social scientists as they grappled with the problem of homelessness. The development of the Bowery from a respectable entertainment district to the nation's most infamous skid row offers a lens through which to understand national trends of homelessness and the complex relationship between poverty and place. Maintained by cities across the country as a type of informal urban welfare, skid rows anchored the homeless to a specific neighborhood, offering inhabitants places to eat, drink, sleep, and find work while keeping them comfortably removed from the urban middle classes. This separation of the homeless from the core of city life fostered simplistic and often inaccurate understandings of their plight. Most efforts to assist them centered on reforming their behavior rather than addressing structural economic concerns.

By midcentury, as city centers became more valuable, urban renewal projects and waves of gentrification destroyed skid rows and with them the public housing and social services they offered. With nowhere to go, the poor scattered across the urban landscape into public spaces, only to confront laws that effectively criminalized behavior associated with abject poverty. Richly detailed, Homeless lends insight into the meaning of homelessness and poverty in twentieth-century America and offers us a new perspective on the modern welfare system.

Ella Howard teaches urban history and material culture at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
Title:Homeless: Poverty and Place in Urban AmericaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:January 24, 2013Publisher:University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0812244729

ISBN - 13:9780812244724

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Challenge of the Depression
Chapter 2. A New Deal for the Homeless
Chapter 3. Skid Row in an Era of Plenty
Chapter 4. Urban Renewal and the Challenge of Homelessness
Chapter 5. Operation Bowery and Social Scientific Inquiry
Chapter 6. The End of the Skid-Row Era
Conclusion. Whither the Homeless


Editorial Reviews

"Through thorough research, sound use of secondary sources, and a shrewd focus on America's first and largest skid row, the Bowery, Howard has produced a book that will be essential reading for scholars of homelessness and social welfare."—Todd DePastino, author of Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America