Homelessness as a Lifestyle

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For those homeless people who are rejecting traditional social services, one may have to be able to treat their symptoms as secondary while looking beyond them for primary social patterns. This reveals a lifestyle devastated by disaffiliation and social distance. People who have been homeless for a long time can be shown to be suffering from a lifestyle of homelessness or from “homelessness-as-a-lifestyle.” This is a condition, the components of which often include early life transiency, impulsiveness, clusters of unsolved problems, as well as a lack of social and other supports. These lifestyle elements interact with one another in perpetuating fashion, dragging the person along in an undertow, one result of which is downward mobility. Four case studies demonstrate examples of this social condition.

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