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Short Title

The Policy Nexus: Panhandling, Social Capital and Policy Failure

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze a unique mixed methods data set based on survey responses (n=108) and intensive interviews (n=18) with panhandlers in Austin, Texas. We examine the way in which failures of primary and secondary social capital interact to create the conditions of extreme poverty and homelessness that lead to panhandling. We find that a large majority of these individuals are working-age adults who lack access to social policy supports that would allow them to weather periods of unemployment produced by health issues and other personal difficulties.

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