Early perceptions characterized homelessness as a permanent attribute rather than a temporary status. What we now recognize as a marker of chronic homelessness—long-term or repeated episodes of homelessness—was viewed as the norm, and the result of lifestyle preferences and a lifelong retreat from traditional social ties. That dominant perception, a holdover from the “skid row” era of research in the 1950s, was of homelessness as an entrenched condition resulting from “disaffiliation,” or an individual’s decision to isolate one’s self from family, workplace, and other social networks. By the 1980s, homelessness was newly emergent and increasingly visible. These “new homeless” did not conform to existing preconceptions. They included families headed by younger women, young single adults, and a high percentage were minorities. They were not confined to a single neighborhood and did not seek shelter on skid row or in single-room occupancies, which were largely converted to other purposes, but instead stayed on the street and in new shelters that were opened to give people an alternative to sleeping on the street. While social isolation continued to be seen as part of the problem, this changing face of homelessness required new explanations, including a lack of affordable housing, unemployment, and gaps in disability insurance and public assistance coverage.
The existing policies are not well positioned to handle the problem. The policies have been overtaken by events because the issue should be handled logically.The project aimed at eliminating homelessness before 2012. The program was adopted by the national agency in charge of homelessness referred to as National Alliance. The new agency was renamed National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). Various agencies declared their intentions to end homelessness. Bush announced that his government was committed to end the problem. In 2003, the Interagency Council designed two plans that could end homelessness. The first one was Ending Chronic Homelessness through Employment and Housing. The program aimed at offering jobs and houses to the poor.
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