How "Deserving" Are the Most Vulnerable Homeless?

Anne Hicks-Coolick, Kennesaw State University
Ardith Peters, Kennesaw State University
Ulf Zimmermann, Kennesaw State University


These thoughts on poverty relate to the strengths and needs of shelter programs that lead people who are homeless to self-sufficiency. Demographic data from 4,000 homeless shelter guests over a 4-year period gave evidence that the shelter was an important part of a suburban social service delivery system. It met the short-term needs of many who were homeless. The irony is that the same program developed to help homeless individuals attain self-sufficiency appears to set up many of the most vulnerable to fail, specifically mothers and their children and those addicted to alcohol and drugs.