In the 1870s, large numbers of able-bodied men hopped the newly built railroads that crisscrossed the country in search of economic opportunities in America’s rapidly growing cities. Many of these men arrived in cities with few possessions and little money. As they struggled to find affordable nightly accommodations in their new cities, the first homelessness crisis in the modern United States was born (Kusmer 2002; DePastino 2010). The influx of immigrants to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Peters 1990), the Great Depression (Schumbert 1935; Crouse 1986), the de-institutionalization of the mental health system in the 1970s (Dear and Wolch 1987), the AIDS crisis of the 1990s (Rossi 1990), veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (Eckholm 2007), and increased prevalence of eviction (Desmond 2016) have all changed both the number and composition of the homeless over time.
SOURCE: Evans, W. Phillips, D. Ruffini, K. “Reducing and Preventing Homelessness: A Review of the Evidence and Charting a Research Agenda.” Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, July 2019.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia