"Defining Aid" : The Impact of Language and Bureaucracy in Kalamazoo's Housing Policy

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Authors
Chauhdry, Sharmeen
Issue Date
2019-09-01
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en_US
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Abstract
Although the United States is considered the richest country in the world based on its GDP, homelessness and housing insecurity remain an issue for millions of people. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), around .17 percent of the population, or approximately 550,000 people, were found to be homeless on any given night, (Henry, Mahathey, Morrill, Robinson, Shivji, Watt 2018). The number of people who live at or below the poverty line is much higher, with around 12.7 percent of the population, or approximately 48 million people, utilizing federal funds to obtain stability in 2017, (Fontenot, Semega, Kollar 2018). This paper analyzes Kalamazoo, Michigan, a small metropolitan area with a population of less than 100,000. Housing Resources Inc., a housing non-profit in Kalamazoo reports that out of the 75,000 people that live in there, only 70,000 of them live in a housing unit. With 7 percent of the population facing homelessness and 15 percent living below the federal poverty line, analyzing how and why housing insecurity persists is an important step to creating policy to better address such issues. Discourse in and around public policy can often correspond with effectiveness and impact on community members, (Ahmed 2006). Language can shift the meaning and execution of aid, put limitations on who can access aid, as well as who is deserving of receiving aid. Furthermore, the structures that are responsible for solving these issues are inherently limited through bureaucracy. This paper uses Ahmed's (2006) theory of language as well as Farazmand's (2010) theory of bureaucratic limitation to analyze language in local aid policies and how those policies are implemented to perpetuate housing instability in Kalamazoo.
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vi, 71 p.
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