Journal of Social Research & Policy,
Volume: 5, Issue: 1
, pp. 5-24
Date: July 2014
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)
Abstract: This study examines the relationship between expressed preferences and claimed ideological identity among the homeless population, and the resulting impact on social service preferences. In doing so, we take a bottom-up perspective toward social service demand. What exactly is it that the homeless population wants, and is it related to their political views? Drawing on data obtained through 283 in-depth interviews with embedded surveys, we explore the political opinions of homeless persons. The data were collected in 14 locations across the Unites States. Our findings indicate that for the homeless, opinions regarding policy issues are not related to political ideology, as they are in the general public. Homeless persons’ attitudes toward policy issues diverge in ways that are the result of the physical experience of street life. Once this divergence is accounted for, homeless persons’ differing preferences for social service provision is predictable in an ideologically consistent way.
Keywords: Ideology; Homelessness; Opinion; Attitudes; Service Preference; Social Integration.