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 economicand 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 onsocial 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 forwelfare 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 advocates.