Homeless Women in America

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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 ... ... middle of paper ... ...t they found self respect. These women didn’t have to live like animals. They were able to settle down somewhat. The women didn’t have to bounce around as much and they always had a place to lay their heads. They could actually get the feeling of being a women having the bathroom to use and just being able to relax. The last gain that the women experienced was the fact that they had a place to store their personal belongings. They were able to store some of their personal belongings at the shelter and the women would have to carry cherished items and constantly worry about them. Liebow learned a lot about these women from studying them . Some people may question Liebow and ask him why he would as time as he did in the shelter. Well the answer to that question is that he did what gave him pleasure which was to help people that did need help. First he said that he wondered why that although all of the wome were in the same situation, why some could make it through this and others didn’t. Well his solution to this was some do some don’t. Which meant everyone reacts differently to certain situations. Personally I learned a lot from this book and I thought it was a good book.

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