Michele Wakin’s new book Hobo Jungle: A Homeless Community in Paradise (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2020) is an up-close exploration of the evolution that has taken place with unsheltered homelessness. She provided an evocative portrait of a jungle encampment that has endured since the Great Depression in one of the wealthiest cities located on California’s south coast.
The realities of homelessness are quite complex. For decades unhoused populations have lived in camps or other makeshift settings, even when shelters are available. Is this a chosen act of resistance? Is it an act of self-preservation? Or do homeless people live on the streets (and in the “Jungle”) because they are too addicted, too mentally ill, or too criminal to live by the rules and regulations of a shelter?
Michele Wakin, Ph.D. is professor of sociology at Bridgewater State University. She is the author of Otherwise Homeless: Vehicle Living and the Culture of Homelessness.
Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He earned his doctoral degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Walden University. He researches place and the process of place making as it is presented in everyday social interactions. You can find more about him on his website, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.