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Authors

Ellen L. Bassuk

Abstract

The future directions of policies designed to aid homeless families should be based on a deep understanding of the causes of homelessness. Unfortunately, systematic data are lacking. Instead, biases and opinions have shaped the debate about the origins of homelessness and its solutions. Some experts argue that widespread construction of low-income housing will solve the homelessness problem. Attractive as such a proposal might be, it overlooks the contribution of noneconomic factors to homelessness, as well as the quality of life of the families involved. The provision of decent, affordable housing is an essential element of a comprehensive plan; but such a plan must also address the social, emotional, medical, and educational needs of homeless parents and children.

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