chapter  27
12 Pages

Homelessness as violence

Bad people, bad policy, or overdetermined social processes?
ByVincent Lyon-Callo

One of Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff's primary interventions is their critique of essentialism. On a most basic level this was a critique of simplistic Marxist conceptions that ignored the dialectic in favor of a one directional economic determinism. When the emergency shelters and the new continuum of care practices did not significantly reduce homelessness, rhetoric and practices in communities across the nation turned to punishing and criminalizing public homelessness. Housing first is pretty much just what the name implies. The plan is to provide housing for homeless people first. And, then, once housing is somewhat stabilized, the pan next is to help them work on the various other issues causing problems in their lives. In looking at homelessness, it is of course imperative to think carefully about what remains problematic in most of the dominant responses both to homelessness and to growing inequality and economic insecurity.