Office of Public Affairs

A New Book Unveils The Nation’s Silent Epidemic: Homelessness

David Wagner, University of Southern Maine professor of social work and sociology, and active advocate for Portland’s homeless, is no stranger to the crisis Portland and other U.S. cities are facing. With co-author Jennifer Barton Gilman, a USM alumna who holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work, Wagner recently published his eighth book, “Confronting Homelessness: Poverty, Politics, and the Failure of Social Policy.”

Wagner and Gilman shed fresh light onto the issue of homelessness and why it remains prevalent nationwide. The book shows readers some of the real reasons for homelessness: American society’s fundamental structural problems, as well as how the country deals with the inequalities of social class. The authors raise questions regarding why media and political attention on the subject matter has dwindled over past decades, even though homelessness remains prevalent in the U.S. Wagner and Gilman argue that many are allowed to easily slip below the poverty line, and how the issue of homelessness is seldom talked about nationally.

Wagner has spent time spent studying and being active in organizing efforts with the homeless in Portland, Maine, as well as Calif. and New York City. In Portland, Wagner has befriended many of our homeless, and formed the Portland Organization to Win Economic Rights (POWER) which was active 2001-2007. The homeless population in Portland is increasing, but Maine is not talking about it. Both Wagner and Gilman’s hands-on knowledge in the field of social work gives them an understanding of this reality, and makes “Confronting Homelessness: Poverty, Politics, and the Failure of Social Policy” an informative perspective on the still very relevant issue of homelessness in America.

David Wagner is available for interviews, which can be arranged by contacting USM’s Office of Public Affairs at 207-780-4200.