Massachusetts's response to the tragedy of family homelessness during a period of economic prosperity (1983-1987) is contrasted to a period of economic decline (1988-1992). The article describes the movement toward a structural response in the boom years and its dismantling with the emergence of a "blame the victim" response in the decline years. The roles of state government, advocacy groups, human service providers, private funding sources, academic institutions, and the media, as they influence these responses, are outlined. Interviews with key actors in these groups, group interviews with formerly homeless women, a review of the literature, and the authors' direct experience in the field provide concrete evidence from which conclusions are drawn.



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