Advertisement

Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 57–71 | Cite as

A portrait of older homeless men: Identifying hopelessness and adaptation

  • David E. Vance
Article

Abstract

Using participant observation as a homeless shelter volunteer and through face-to-face long interviews with four homeless elders (50+) and six service providers throughout the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan area, data revealed unique coping strategies and patterns of service use of older homeless people. A state of hopelessness characterized many older homeless people who adapted and functioned in their culture of poverty. Sources of hopelessness were identified. Unique adaptations were noted for certain individuals who either learned to use the services opportunities provided or learned to exploit/abuse the service network. This group of people have found a social niche in which they can function and meet basic survival needs.

Keywords

Service Provider Coping Strategy Metropolitan Area Service Network Participant Observation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Cohen C. I., Teresi, J., Holmes, D., & Roth, E. (1988). Survival strategies of older homeless men.The Gerontologist, 28(1), 58–65.Google Scholar
  2. Coston, C. T., & Fincernauer, J. O. (1993). Fear of crime among vulnerable populations: homeless women.Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 2(1), 1–22.Google Scholar
  3. Ennis, P. H. (1967).Criminal victimization in the United States: a report of a national survey. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  4. Erikson, K. T. (1976).Everything in its path: destruction of community in the Buffalo Creek flood. New York: Schuster.Google Scholar
  5. Hombs, M., & Snyder, M. (1982).Homelessness in America: A forced march to nowhere. Washington, D.C.: Community for Creative Non-Violence.Google Scholar
  6. Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, H. A. (1988).Social gerontology: A multidisciplinary perspective. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  7. Hudson, B. A., Rauch, B. B., Dawson, G. D., Santos, J. F., & Burdick, D. C. (1990). Homelessness: Special problems related to training, research, and the elderly.Gerontology & Geriatrics Education, 10(3), 31–69.Google Scholar
  8. Lawton, M. P. (1986).Environment and aging. Philadelphia, PA: The Center for the Study of Aging.Google Scholar
  9. Lebowitz, B. D. (1991).Fact sheet: Mental health and aging: The homeless elderly. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  10. Lewis, O. (1968).A study of slum culture: Backgrounds for La Vida. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  11. Martin, M. A. (1990). The homeless elderly: no room at the inn. In Z. Harel, P. Ehrlich, and R. Hubbard (Eds.),The vulnerable aged: People, services, and policies (pp. 146–166). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. McCraken, G. (1988).The long interview. Newbury Parks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Mills, C. W. (1959).The sociological imagination. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. O'Connell, J., Summerfield, J., & Russell, F. (1990). The homeless elderly. In W. P. Brickner, L. K. Scharer, B. A. Conanan, M. Savarese, & B. C. Scanlan (Eds.),Under the safety net (pp 151–168). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  15. Olsen-Noll, C. G., & Bosworth, M. F. (1989). Alcohol abuse in the elderly.American Family Physician, 39 173–179.Google Scholar
  16. Reilly, E., & McInnis, B. (1985). Boston, Massachusetts: The Pine Street Inn Nurse's Clinic and Tuberculosis Program.City Health Information, 8(7), 1–3.Google Scholar
  17. Roth, D., Bean, G. J., & Hyde, D. S. (1986). Homelessness and mental health policy: Developing an appropriate role for the 1980s.Community Mental Health Journal, 22(4, Fall).Google Scholar
  18. Schutt, R. K., & Garrett, G. R. (1992).Responding to the homeless: policy and practice. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  19. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990).Basics of qualitative research. New York: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1984).A report to the secretary on the homeless and emergency shelter. Washington, D.C.: Office of Policy Development and Research.Google Scholar
  21. Vance, D. E. (1993).Older Homeless People: Problems in Studying Them and Barriers to Service Utilization. Unpublished thesis, Miami University, Oxford, OH.Google Scholar
  22. Vance, D. E. (1995). Barriers to use of services of older homeless people.Psychological Reports, 75 1377–1378.Google Scholar
  23. White, R. W. (1992).Rude awakenings: What the homeless crisis tells us. San Francisco, CA: ICS Press.Google Scholar
  24. Wolfensberger, W., & Thomas, S. (1983).Program analysis of service systems' implementation of normalization goals: normalization criteria and ratings manual (2nd ed.. Toronto, Ontario: National Institute on Mental Retardation.Google Scholar
  25. Wright, J. D. (1989).Address unknown: The homeless in America. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  26. Yin, P. (1980). Fear of crime among the elderly: Some issues and suggestions.Social Problems, 27 492–504.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Vance
    • 1
  1. 1.Miami UniversityOxford

Personalised recommendations