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Homeless Women In America Essay

1056 words - 4 pages

Homeless Women in America

     Today in the U.S. there is a large percentage of people that are homeless. There are so many questions when one sees a homeless person, for example why doesn’t he or she get a job and get out of the streets? People that make comments like the one just made probably doesn’t really know anyone that is homeless so they do no understand what they go through. In the book “ Tell Me Who I Am,’’ Elliot Liebow tries to explain what the cost and gains are for women living in a homeless shelter.

     In 1984 Elliot Liebow decided to study homeless women in Washington D.C.

The place that he volunteered at was called the “Refuge Shelter for Homeless Women.’

At this shelter Liebow became great friends with some of these women. He would allow

them in to his home to meet his family and to get to know him personally. The process in

which he decided to study the women was called Participant observation. During this

process he would spend a day or two with the women then he would come home and

take notes on his experiences. He would write down every little detail that he could

remember every conversation every word. Liebow approached things this way because

he thought that if he sat and took notes that it would make people act unnatural. Liebow

really never asked the women to many questions either, what he did was he would just

sit in on conversations and based upon the situation he may ask a question or two. The

reason for the tactic was to stop the women from lying to him and not being there normal

selves. Once Liebow felt that he had enough information he had to figure out how to

make sense of everything that he had reported on. He would always read over

his notes in order to keep in mind what he reported on. What he decided to do was he put

the notes in chronological order. He then picked what each chapter would be about, and

from there he began to write.

     In Liebow’s study he found out that living in a homeless shelter would cost some

women some of the things that they wanted but they also gained some things by living

there. One cost that these women may have experienced when living at the shelter is that

they may have became dependent on self assistance checks. Liebow reported that he saw

personality changes because of the money given to the women . He said that when the

women would receive their money they seem to be the nicest women with no problems.

Later he reported that when these females were starting to run low on money that

they would slip in a depression. He said that these women would try to show people

along with themselves that they were mentally ill. These women would start to feel sorry

for themselves and feel like it’s them against the world.

     Another cost that the women experienced from living at the shelter was their

inability to get a job. The reason for this was because the women would not be able to

put...

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