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The American Homeless Family Shelter "System"

Linda Weinreb and Peter H. Rossi
Social Service Review
Vol. 69, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 86-107
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30012555
Page Count: 22
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The American Homeless Family Shelter "System"
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Abstract

A significant increase in homelessness among families during the past decade has led to the establishment of an extensive family shelter system. Because the number of shelters has grown so quickly, there is little systematic information that describes them. In this study, we examine general characteristics, services offered, and common practices of 646 family shelters. Data are drawn from a mail survey of family shelters in the database of a nonprofit organization devoted to research and action on homeless families. Analysis revealed that the system of family shelters is not a coordinated system but rather a diverse group of loosely connected programs, organized primarily by private sponsors, and that shelter practices often exclude the neediest families.

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