This article considers the problem of poverty, with homelessness as the centerpiece. A survey of the problem and its roots and ancillary branches includes (1) a description of poverty in Boston (and America) from 1974 to 1991, its effects, its victims, and its predictable effects on the economy; (2) a description of displacement and of the homelessness that results from it; (3) a description of the immediate response to displacement and homelessness, that is, shelters; (4) a description of the institutionalization/professionalization/ossification of the response (more shelters); and (5) an outline of the terms of the new debate and suggestions for what a renewed, redirected effort to eliminate poverty and homelessness should take.



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