15 women recount their experiences of homelessness, in a collection that illuminates the part gender roles play and challenges liberal myths about homelessness
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"Some of my deepest conversations have been with wise homeless sisters of all colors on the underside of America - yet they have a rich understanding of America! Don't miss this book!"
- Cornel West, Princeton University
"No Room of her Own will take its place next to Liebow's Tell Them Who I Am as a definitive contemporary human document on the lives of homeless women."
- Mitchell Duneier, Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology, Princeton University
'Heartbreaking and inspiring stories of courageous women enduring and triumphing over adversity few of us can imagine. Desiree Hellegers brilliantly collates and connects the stories of disparate homeless women. We learn much about these citizens with no addresses. They have been studied to death but rarely do we hear their voices. No Room of Their Own breaks the silences surrounding the national disgrace of homelessness. These women must be heard.'
- David Barsamian
'The reality that sings out from Desiree Hellegers' remarkable book is that women who lack a roof to sleep under at night are not lacking in competence, will-power, a way with words and a generous spirit of activism. The first-hand stories gathered here, framed by Hellegers' cogently political introduction, show how in the USA's grossly class-divided, racist and sexist society housing is not a right but a privilege. Homelessness is a punishment for being already disadvantaged. No Room of Her Own will be an inspiration to activist women, both homeless and housed.'
- Cynthia Cockburn, feminist researcher and writer, member of Women in Black London, author of From Where We Stand: War, Women's Activism and Feminist Analysis
'After reading No Room of Her Own, I'm more convinced than ever that unless we bend toward justice, years hence, our children will look back upon current policies that are producing poverty and homelessness alongside peopleless homes - as a societal experiment that is far worse than the Tuskeegee study, in which the ravages of syphilis were studied while the individuals were left untreated.'
- Stephen Bezruchka M.D., M.P.H., School of Public Health, University of Washington
'No Room of Her Own: Women¹s Stories of Homelessness, Life, Death, and Resistance is a well-researched piece of work, and sobering reminder that women who experience homelessness in the United States face many of the same horrid injustices as their sisters around the globe. By recording and presenting the voices of women who have struggled through the trauma of the streets, we can better understand the beautiful and tragic story of the human experience. It¹s also a call to action, and a reminder we all have a part to play.'
- Israel Bayer, Executive Director of Street Roots, Portland, Oregon
This moving collection brings together the stories of fifteen women who share the common experience of homelessness. Drawing on interviews conducted in Seattle, Washington over the course of nearly two decades, these accounts range across the United States, from New York to Louisiana to Los Angeles. Included here are memories of living in the South at the tail end of Jim Crow, of growing up gay and Black in the Pacific Northwest in the 1960s, and of surviving childhood abuse in Harlan, Kentucky in the 1970s. These women reveal the formidable struggles they face every day, from catastrophic health issues to routine threats of physical and sexual assault. But they also speak about their own intellectual interests and spiritual lives, and their activism with organizations such as Women in Black, which has held vigils to mark the deaths and honor the lives of the hundreds who have died homeless in the city that spawned Microsoft, Starbucks, and the WTO protests. Illuminating the rich and complicated humanity of its narrators, this book challenges stereotypes about homeless people and provides jarring, unforgettable insights - taken from shelters, drop-in centers, and the streets - into civil society in the United States.
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