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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Crossing the Border: Encounters Between Homeless People and Outreach Workers
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Homeless encounters, in this book, involve face-to-face meetings between people who are homeless and the rescuers, called outreach workers, whom society dispatches to its margins. These encounters are composed of mutual perceptions, negotiated understandings about behavior and identity, and the transfer of goods. I refer to thee encounters as “homeless” not only because homeless persons are a party to them, but also because they lack a foothold in everyday social interactions or in the office-bound meetings of clients and workers. Different images and expectations adhere to them, and the actors are playing for higher stakes. Homeless encounters take place at a border that divides one world from another. This border is physical, in the sense that it is staked out by emergency shelters, soup kitchens, and the streets, and it is social and psychological, in the sense that it is staked out by experiences and perceptions. For each party, the act of crossing the border is physical, social, and psychological, a movement of identity as well as of place. (Author)
Berkeley, CA
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