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The Word On The Street

Homeless Men In Las Vegas

Kurt Borchard

Publication Year: 2005

Published by: University of Nevada Press

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xi

I traveled to the Czech Republic in the summer of 2000. During a package bus tour of a small town, Cesky Krumlov, I struck up a conversation with a young woman from Australia who held an advanced degree and worked in medical research. I told her I was a professor, and for my...

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pp. xiii-xxvi

This book developed out of discussions I have had about homelessness, discussions with people from all walks of life. Few people I encounter in everyday life have met or have spent significant time with homeless people. However, when we talk about homeless people, and in particular...

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1: Popular Interpretations of Homelessness

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pp. 1-28

Male homelessness is often interpreted as an individual, rather than a social, problem. Particular values and beliefs in the United States stress individualism and promote an individual as the most responsible party for his or her problems. Different regions of the United States come...

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2: Talking to One Homeless Man in Las Vegas

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pp. 29-55

In order to understand how homeless men in Las Vegas interpret their homelessness, I conducted in-depth interviews with forty-eight homeless men and two service providers in the city between 1995 and 1999.1 I often conducted interviews in the homeless corridor in Las Vegas, and...

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3: Causes and Consequences of Homelessness [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 56-102

Many individuals ask me, How have these men become homeless? What are the underlying causes behind a homeless man’s current life circumstances? For many people, such questions are at the heart of the debate over the “guilty” versus the “innocent” homeless and which homeless...

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4: Homeless Shelters and Squatting on the Strip

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pp. 103-132

Once a man had become homeless, I wondered, how did he survive from day to day? I knew from experience as a shelter administrator that homeless shelters are important resources in the lives of some homeless men. Before coming to Las Vegas, however, I had little direct knowledge...

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5: Other Survival Strategies

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pp. 133-168

Because homeless men are typically outside the traditional economy of Las Vegas, they often resort to unconventional survival strategies. I often asked homeless men basic questions about how they survived and how they managed to live from day to day. Since most domiciled people...

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6: Crime, Violence, and the Police

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pp. 169-192

Homeless men in Las Vegas face near constant physical vulnerability. After all, being homeless generally means not having a secure, safe place to store personal possessions, to be away from the outside world, and to relax. In their heightened state of vulnerability, these homeless men were...

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7: Recent Developments

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pp. 193-207

In July and August 2001, Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman presented an unusual and controversial solution for addressing the problem of homeless men in his city. Goodman proposed that an abandoned prison in Jean, Nevada, approximately thirty miles from the city of Las Vegas, be...

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8: The Word on the Street

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pp. 208-214

Throughout this study, I have presented information on male homelessness in Las Vegas, drawing from my interviews with homeless men and homeless service providers, participant observation of homeless men in various settings, and content analysis of local newspaper articles. My findings...

Appendix 1: How I Conducted Field Work

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pp. 215-218

Appendix 2: List of Interviewees, 1995-1999

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pp. 219-220


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pp. 221-224


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pp. 225-232


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pp. 233-241

E-ISBN-13: 9780874176377
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874176070

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2005