Images of the Homeless: Public Views and Media Messages

Bruce G. Link, Barrett A. Lee, Paul A. Toro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Despite its potential policy relevance, public opinion about homelessness has received little attention from researchers. This deficiency is addressed here by bringing together data obtained in four recent surveys. The survey results indicate that many Americans accurately perceive the characteristics of homeless people, consider homelessness a serious problem with structural roots, and support a variety of measures intended to solve it. Certain segments of the public—Democrats, liberals, blacks, and residents of communities that have homeless populations—are especially likely to hold these views. The extent to which the public's thoughts on homelessness have been shaped by the media is difficult to determine. However, an analysis of the volume and content of print and broadcast news coverage of the issue hints at a plausible causal connection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-682
Number of pages34
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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