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"Homelessness is the condition of people without a permanent dwelling, such as a house or apartment. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing.[1] The legal definition of homeless varies from country to country, or among different jurisdictions in the same country or region.[2] The term homelessmay also include people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, a domestic violence shelter, long-term residence in a motel, a vehicle, squattingcardboard boxes, a tent citytarpaulinsshanty town structures made of discarded building materials or other ad hoc housing situations.  United States government homeless enumeration studies also include people who sleep in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings."
-- Wikipedia: "Homelessness"


Housing First

from December, 2016 literature review and commentary [Kertesz et al 2016]: 

"Advocates for ending homelessness have increasingly turned to a financial argument, claiming that permanent supportive housing will deliver net cost savings to society." "We believe the cost-savings argument is problematic and that it would be better to reframe the discussion to focus primarily on the best way to meet this population’s needs." "Higher-quality randomized, controlled trials...haven’t demonstrated net cost savings." "Staking the future of Housing First on the expectation that it will save money could undermine efforts to deliver an effective intervention to the majority of the population it’s intended to serve."


[Baxter et al 2019]: 

"the data included in this review were exclusively from North America and the participants were all selected on the basis of complex health needs (such as mental illness, substance abuse or chronic physical illness) as per the principles of HF.16 17 This may limit the generalisability of our findings internationally, as well as to homeless people without complex health needs."

"Our systematic review found that HF resulted in large improvements in housing stability; with unclear short-term impact on health and well-being outcomes. For mental health, quality of life and substance use, no clear differences were seen when compared with TAU [Treatment As Usual].. HF participants showed a clear reduction in non-routine use of healthcare services, over TAU. This may be an indicator of improvements in health."

"Housing First approaches do not appear to consistently improve or harm health in the short-term, but long-term impacts are unknown." 


Writings / work by the homeless

International Network of Street Papers

Homeless-run newspapers (street paper):
    StreetRoots, Portland; and 100+ other cities. 

Israel Bayer of Portland, longtime editor of Street Roots, is now working for INSP to launch a North American Bureau. 

Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau

a program of the National Coalition for the Homeless


Invisible People / Mark Horvath

Doreen Traylor

a resident of coastal Washington State, Doreen has a background in urban studies and housing, and lived experience with homelessness, offers writing/editing services (see About page) and publishes about homelessness and related issues online in various places, including: 

Note from Doreen:

"Here's another blog by a homeless person (I have read only part of one page, no clue how good most of it is)
https://nilskidoo.blackblogs.org/throwing-stones-at-the-mossbacks-gathered/."  [page not loading when we tried it 11 Sept 2019]. 







  • Feldman, Leonard C. Citizens without Shelter: Homelessness, Democracy, and Political Exclusion. (Cornell University Press, 2006).
  • Heben, Andrew. Tent City Urbanism: From Self-Organized Camps to Tiny House Villages (2012). 
  • Gowan, Teresa. Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders: Homeless in San Francisco. (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). 
  • Hailey, Charlie. Camps: A Guide to 21st-Century Space. (MIT Press, 2009).
  • Hailey, Charlie . Campsite: Architectures of Duration and Place. 2008.
  • Hopper, Kim. Reckoning With Homelessness. (Cornell University Press, 2002).   
  • Katz. The Undeserving Poor (1st edition 1989). 
  • Kerouac, Jack. "The Hobo in America", in Lonesome Traveller
  • Kusmer, Kenneth L.. Down and Out, on the Road: The Homeless in American History. Oxford University Press, 2001.  
  • Levinson, David, ed. Encyclopedia of Homelessness, 2004. http://1.droppdf.com/files/uMBPZ/encyclopedia-of-homelessness.pdf.
      Almhouses: Poorhouses, Workhouses
      Literature, Hobo and Tramp
      "Shelter" entry by Kim Hopper, p.526-531
      Literature on Homelessness: Appendix 1: Bibliography of Autobiographical and Fictional Accounts  
        of Homelessness;
      Appendix 4: Documentary History of Homelessness
  • London, Jack. The Road (1903). 
  • O'Flaherty, Brendan. The Economics of Homelessness (Harvard University Press,1998). 
  • Okin, Robert L. Silent Voices: People with Mental Disorders on the Street (2014). 
  • Piven, Francis, and Richard Cloward. Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare (1956).
  • Quigley, John M, Stephen Raphael, and Eugene Smolensky. "Homelessness in California." Public Policy Institute of California, 2001. http://www.ppic.org/publication/homelessness-in-california/. 
  • Rossi, Peter R. Down and Out in America. 1993.
  • Willse, Craig. The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States. (University of Minnesota Press, 2015).