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Event Cities, Health Housing, Serious Mental Illness

Homelessness in America: The History and Tragedy of an Intractable Social Problem

Thursday June 2022


Stephen Eide Senior Fellow | Contributing Editor, City Journal @stephendeide
Brian C. Anderson Editor, City Journal @BrianAcity

Homelessness is one of the most pressing threats to health and public safety, and the problem has only grown since the umbrella term "homeless" was coined in the 1980s by interest groups lobbying for increased federal spending. A lack of understanding—not a lack of spending—is the reason homelessness has not gone away.

In his new book, Homelessness in America: The History and Tragedy of an Intractable Social Problem, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Stephen Eide reveals that homeless people (some of whom would have been characterized as "tramps" or "hoboes" in another era)—have always been part of our national story. So, too, have mental illness and addiction, which are contributing factors in many cases. The end of the "flop-house" era and single-room occupancies coincided with the decline of two-parent families, leading to greater numbers of people huddled under the ill-fitting umbrella of "homelessness." Targeted public policy can make a difference, Eide argues, but only if we first admit that homelessness is not a problem that can be fixed by housing alone.

Please join us for this enlightening presentation. Books will be available for sale.