“Homelessness simply is not an acceptable lifestyle to us.”
—Major William G. Nottle, Salvation Army1
“Avoiding officially sanctioned shelters at all costs, the homeless take refuge almost anywhere else—in alleys, parks, tunnels, and abandoned buildings, under bridges, and so on. The police have to roust them from these areas regularly, because if the homeless become comfortable anywhere, what motive have they to stop being homeless? The trouble is, for some strange reason, it doesn’t work worth a damn.”
David Wagner asserts that Americans tend to view the homeless in one of three ways. The most common is a hostile and judgmental view whereby the homeless are regarded as “disruptive of the public order.”3Those who hold this view demand that the homeless pull themselves together and return to work and a proper family life—or, barring this, to simply disappear from sight. Less widespread is a charitable view whereby the homeless must be shown compassion and...