chapter  One
16 Pages

The Human Faces of Homelessness

This chapter discusses that there are many kinds of homeless people. It illustrates the diversity of homelessness in contemporary America, and shows some of the human faces behind the numbers presented later. The chapter describes Radar as an old face not because of his age—the man was just 39 years old when interviewed—but because of the nature of his homelessness. Homeless families are probably the fastest growing sector of the contemporary homeless population. Homeless families, like the McMullans, comprise perhaps a quarter or more of today's homeless problem. More than one homeless adult in four is a woman, and among homeless adult women, one fourth have de-pendent children in their care. Mental illness is about twice as common among homeless women as among homeless men, further increasing their vulnerability and adding still more to the difficulties of their existence.