Article

DESIGNER SHELTERS AS MODELS AND MAKERS OF HOME: NEW RESPONSES TO HOMELESSNESS IN URBAN AMERICA

Urban Geography (Impact Factor: 1.75). 01/1994; 15(2):150-167. DOI: 10.2747/0272-3638.15.2.150

ABSTRACT As the number of homeless people grew over the 1980s, so did the number of homeless shelters. Given that these recently established shelters are smaller, more specialized, and tend to assist those segments of the homeless population more likely to be mainstreamed, they are intentionally designed to be a model of a middle-class home for the people they serve. This paper examines the process by which designer shelters became part of the contemporary urban scene. It explores the notion that in and through these institutions poor and homeless people are being told how to live. Evidence of how designer shelters have become a model of a middle-class home, and how designer shelters reproduce this model through their policies and practices, is gathered from various sources. City planning documents and shelter mission statements obtained from Wilmington, Delaware illustrate the process of creating model homemakers out of homeless people. Some of the spatial and social implications of this process are discussed.

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