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Article   |    
Shelterization: How the Homeless Adapt to Shelter Living
Jeffrey Grunberg; Paula F. Eagle
Psychiatric Services 1990; doi:
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Social Services for The Grand Central Partnership, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City

Presbyterian Hospital, 622 West 168th Street, VC-5, New York, New York 10032, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City

1990 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Emergency shelters have become the backbone of the service delivery system to the homeless. Particularly in large shelters, crime is a pervasive aspect of life. But despite the dangers of shelter living, many residents do not flee; instead they develop coping strategies that provide them with a feeling of mastery unparalleled on the outside. This adaptation process, which the authors call "shelterization," is characterized by a decrease in interpersonal responsiveness, a neglect of personal hygiene, increasing passivity, and increasing dependency on others. The authors suggest that the shelteri zation process may be ameliorated by helping homeless persons establish positive social networks and affiliations with social service and mental health providers. They believe onsite psychosocial rehabilitation programs can foster such affiliation by offering a therapeutic alternative to the shelter subculture.

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