The poorest of the poor-- the homeless-- are literally on the streets, without resources and lacking any choices, save those necessary for the barest survival. This project is designed to show the connections. between societal conditions, policy and the phenomena of homelessness: focusing in on the mentally ill homeless. The roots of homelessness are fairly obvious: an economy characterized by rank inequality; a housing policy that is bankrupt on both local and national levels; an incompetent system of care for the mentally ill; and a social service system so rigid as to qualify the poorest of the poor. A failing economy and a shrinking housing market has led many people into homelessness. Historically, there has always been one section of the population who were not constrained by societal structure. The failed policy of deinstitutionalization, enacted to remove patients from state mental hospitals has led to a surge in the number of mentally ill homeless people. Men, women and children are dying on the streets due to realigned priorities of the governments philosophy The theoretical perspective on the homeless is quite narrow, however, structural functionalism, label ing theory, and social disaffiliation were util ized to illustrate homelessness. In order to evaluate the current perception that college students have regarding the homeless population, a. I questionnaire was administered to a sampl ing of first and second year students. it was found that the correlation of these national issues and stereotypes were influenced by certain characteristics.


Stroup, Atlee


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150



© Copyright 1989 Katherine L. Thomas