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Homelessness In Québec City, Québec And Hartford, Connecticut: A Cross-National And Cross-Cultural Analysis

Irene Glasser, Louise Fournier and André Costopoulos
Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development
Vol. 28, No. 2, Anthropological Research on Poverty and Homelessness Confronts the 21st Century (SUMMER, 1999), pp. 141-163
Published by: The Institute, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40553356
Page Count: 23
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Homelessness In Québec City, Québec And Hartford, Connecticut: A Cross-National And Cross-Cultural Analysis
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Abstract

Homelessness has become an urgent topic of inquiry in both the United States and Canada in the late 20th century. Having no home is a visible comment on society's failure to house its most vulnerable members. For those in the state of homelessness it is practically impossible for an individual to meet the survival needs of food, employment, health care, and a sense of well being. A logical hypothesis would be that Canada, with its more robust safety net in terms of housing, health, and financial assistance, and a lessened deterioration of its cities, would have relatively less homelessness than does the United States. This paper will explore this hypothesis by examining two recent homeless censuses in the cities of Québec City, Québec, and Hartford, Connecticut. Working alone and together in both cities, the authors navigate the numerous linguistic and cultural constructions of homelessness and homeless-serving agencies in order to arrive at a valid comparison. In fact, in contrast to Hartford, Québec does appear to have approximately one-tenth the number of people living in its shortand long-term shelter beds, and there is also an apparent absence of family homelessness. The comparison between Québec City and Hartford is one of the few cross-national comparisons of homelessness utilizing similar data in each locale, and leads us to discover the causes of homelessness that are rarely uncovered by the single-city or single-country study.

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