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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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Research suggests that culture is one of the variables that significantly affects the construction and meaning of any social phenomenon. However, few studies have been devoted to homelessness -- a particularly powerful social phenomenon -- among ethnic groups. The rather limited data and literature about homelessness and ethnicity suggest marked differences between Puerto Rican homeless people and those from other ethnic groups, but specific analysis of the relevance of culture on homelessness within the Puerto Rican context has received minimal attention. The authors utilize existing data about homeless single adults who use shelter in Puerto Rico's capital city, San Juan, and in the capital city of Columbus, Ohio, to explore and compare the incidences, causes, and demographic characteristics of homeless people in the two cities. Cultural issues that potentially underlie definitions, attitudes, and responses toward social phenomena are discussed. These cultural domains are offered to explain the differences between the two groups. (Authors)
Cross-Cultural Research