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Homelessness in Madison: The Correlation between Collective Perception and Relief Administration

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Hanson, Angie; McGuire, Rebecca; Klima, Caleb
Dec 2009
Madison, WI; Homeless
Try this thought experiment. Imagine you worked for eight hours, and then you had to help a relative cut their lawn. At the end of the day you find yourself tired and hungry. Where do you go? For most individuals they will answer that they will go home for rest and recovery. Now imagine that you have no home to find repose, now what do you do? Unfortunately there are many individuals who do not own or rent a home. Shelter is a basic human need; often we can forget the importance our homes means to us, unless it is taken away. In this paper we will discuss the homeless problem in Madison, WI. Specifically we will look at how the aid offered by the city (both private and public) is directly related to the perception individuals have. First we will briefly discuss the definition of homelessness as well as the broad and diverse causes. Next we will connect perception to aid availability through previous academic research. After the connection is made apparent we will look at the collective Madison perception by analyzing individual perceptions we have obtained through personal interviews, participate observations, and a survey. Finally we will tie all of our individual perceptions together to discuss how they lead to the aid offered by Madison. Aid that is reliant on results, increasing funds, and maintaining basic human needs, which we will show is less effective than an aid style of one?on?one case management.
Includes bibliography, appendices and figures.
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