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Abstract

Excerpt from the full-text article:

Housing possesses certain characteristics which qualify it for an instrumental role in income redistribution policy. Housing is a commodity which for the poor is generally deficient in quality and frequently inadequate in quantity even at modest quality levels. The poor pay a substantial share of their income for housing. The majority of families with incomes under four thousand dollars spend over one-fourth of their total income on housing, while most of those with incomes under two thousand dollars annually normally spend over one-third for housing, as compared with less than one sixth of average family income devoted to housing in the case of the total population. And the poor are generally concentrated, in part because of a lack of cheap housing elsewhere, in neighborhoods where the pathology of poverty reinforces itself. In such areas public facilities, including schools, health care services, police protection and sanitation, are generally inferior. Minority persons generally are compelled to pay prices for housing that reflect the racially discriminatory attitudes of whites. Poor minority persons, therefore, may be obtaining even less housing for their outlays of money and deriving even less in the way of public services as a result. Some of the economic costs incurred by the poor or by public agencies on their behalf as a result of inadequate housing may be indirectly reflected in expenditures for medical care. Social costs of deficient housing may be identified with poverty behavior patterns, such as the incidence of juvenile delinquency.

The purpose of the present study is to explore the relationship between client alienation and efforts by the social work profession to intervene in behalf of the welfare poor. Specifically, this investigation focuses on the ideas, proposals, and studies that have appeared in the social work literature that would indicate efforts by social workers to increase or decrease client alienation. Social work is practiced primarily in agency and organizational settings. Attention will be given to the nature of these structures to determine how they affect client alienation and prevent social workers from relieving alienation. The dimensions of client alienation will be discussed using Melvin Seeman's classification of powerlessness and meaninglessness. A further expansion of the concept of client alienation will be obtained by looking for ways to prevent alienation by combining social work concepts with the concepts of micro-macro society as suggested in the writings of Amitai Etzioni.

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