Write a research report based on the flaws in explanations for homelessness that point to mental health and drugs.

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Write a research report based on the flaws in explanations for homelessness that point to mental health and drugs. For concepts and theories from the course text, really strong start. Structural functionalism might be a bit high level, though. Dig down into specific theories — the Davis-Moore thesis might be useful in the realm of SF. Look for work by critical theorists as well. Work on absolute poverty versus relative poverty might also be helpful. See below for some additional ideas.

For the debate, you might also integrate the “culture of poverty” thesis, which places responsibility for negative outcomes issues on the poor who make bad decisions and experience the consequences. Kind of the individualized version of “modernization theory” that we’re reading about shortly in the chapter on global inequality. Look for work on those who are are experiencing precarious housing, too.
Ch. 9 in the course text has some useful information on housing and homelessness as it relates to inequality. The textbook doesn’t do a great job unpacking the concept of homelessness. For that, you might use this chapter:
It’s from a larger book by Murphy and Tobin called Homelessness Comes to School (2011).
Beyond the textbook, there an important book on homelessness by researchers Aldern and Colburn called Homelessness is a Housing Problem.
They have very compelling data showing the weakness of explanations of homeless that point to mental health and drugs. They find that many US states and cities with high levels of drug use and mental health issues have lower levels of homelessness than US states and cities that have lower levels of drug use and mental health issues but high housing costs. In other words, the key driver of homelessness appears to be the availability of affordable housing (i.e., policy), not drugs and not mental health. The link to the book itself is in the review, and you could ask the library to bring it in for you if they don’t have it already. If the library can’t get it, there are lots of other social scientists and policy people who are working on similar topics.
The issues raised by Aldern and Colburn (and lots of others working on similar topics) can be linked back to sections in the textbook on capitalism and commodification (Ch. 3, p. 144), and especially neoliberalism (Ch. 9, p. 400; Ch. 17, p. 729) and efforts to dismantle the welfare state (Ch. 17, p. 729 and on). If you’re using the digital version of the textbook, the search function will get you to these sections and other key theories and concepts quite quickly.
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