Medical and social models of homelessness: Discourses, attitudes and policy in homeless sheltering agencies in western New York State
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This project explores how homeless sheltering agencies develop and implement policy and treatment plans for the homeless population they serve. It focuses on the basic values and social structures of homeless sheltering agencies in Western New York to determine if agencies operate through a medicalized discourse of homelessness, developing policy within the shelter from such medicalized homeless concepts, or whether a more social discourse is adopted. The result should help to provide a comprehensive picture of Western New York's homeless clients' service provision and highlight key areas that need to be addressed in the future. It is commonly recognized that minority groups in the United States suffer from poor health. People who are homeless suffer from health care problems at more than double the rate of individuals with stable housing. Thus, homelessness is a public health issue. This project is designed to contribute to knowledge about the socio-cultural processes that affect homeless people.