I think this book should be required reading for every American. Or at least every social worker. This book was written in 1988, so it is a bit dated, however, the issues are still relevant, probably even more so today than they were in the 1980's when welfare was actually "useful." This is a work of nonfiction about the homeless population of NYC in the 1980's and how the city, state, and even national lawmakers have failed this most desperate group of people. The author interviewed many families and reveals how shockingly easy it is to fall into homelessness all because of a ruptured pipe or a medical problem. Unfortunately, some of the lawmakers mentioned in this book are still in office. You should be forewarned that this book will infuriate you. More than once I was tempted to throw this book across the room, not because of the bad writing, but because of the circumstances that the homeless people are thrust into through no fault of their own. Read this!