By Peter H. Rossi
The main exact and accomplished photograph of homelessness to this point, this examine deals a robust rationalization of its explanations, proposes brief- and long term options, and files the extraordinary contrasts among the homeless of the Fifties and Sixties and the modern homeless inhabitants, that's more youthful and includes extra ladies, little ones, and blacks.
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Extra info for Down and Out in America: The Origins of Homelessness
Total estimate of 254,000. The HUD key-person survey is to be commended for the care taken in sam- pling and in weighting each item of information according to its credibility. In contrast, the estimates offered by the Committee on Creative Non-Violence in congressional testimony (Bombs and Snyder 1982) apparently were arrived at much more casually. 5 million homeless was also based on extrapolations from local estimates by knowledgeable persons. But, how such persons were chosen-or why certain cities were used-was not revealed, Nor can we learn how many key persons 6.
10%. nOHtnpossible;-imriHS-eJip~e. For example, if we undertook a random sample of any urban area to obtain a sample of homeless persons, we might have to approach anywhere from 70 to 500 adults to encounter one homeless person. To study rare populations efficiently, one must devise strategies that will reduce the screening problem-that is, the many observations needed to reach a person or household that is part of the rare population. Clearly, as I indicated earlier, simple random sampling is very inefficient.
Identification J -\ ,Whatever definition3-homelessnesS-ODe. . l.. not i~bser-~, applying most definitions requires asking people diI. For most structures, residential units can be easily discerned and defined. However, should holel rooms, army barracks, school and college dormitories, and convents be included? The answer is probably yes for n census but is nO( so clear for a sample survey concerned primarily with employmem status. Indeed, as I discussed carlier, the Current Population Survey includes only conventional dwellings within its sampling frames.