What Causes Homelessness?

It does not take long traveling across Washington, DC to encounter people experiencing homelessness.  As these encounters have become so common, fewer people ask how homelessness has become such an entrenched aspect of life in the city.  Why and how do people become homeless?  Can anything be done about it?  This course will explore the phenomenon of homelessness by drawing upon scholarly work done in history, sociology, anthropology, geography, and public policy.  Furthermore, students will meet with advocates for the unhoused, as well as people experiencing homelessness themselves.  Students will read and critically evaluate texts addressing the issue from across these disciplines.  They will also draw upon existing government and agency reports as well as oral histories as they explore alternative ways that people have come to understand the issue outside of the university setting.  Throughout the course, students will produce short reports reflecting upon the debates we encounter and explore potential avenues that they feel might be most effective for resolving this ongoing crisis.