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One Thousand Points of Blight:

Old, Female and Homeless

in New York City



Jay Sokolovsky



    This chapter comes from a multiyear research project with older homeless women funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. This study gathered intensive interviews with 237 females over age fifty who were homeless or near homeless. This was combined with ethnographic examination of the lifestyles of a smaller number of these individuals. Here, Jay Sokolovsky presents an edited portion of an interview conducted during early fieldwork on the “Older Homeless Women” project.




Cohen, C., and J. Sokolovsky. 2001. “Homelessness and Aging.” Special double issue of the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry on “Aging, Ethics, Law and the New Medicine.” Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press.


Kisor, A., and L. Kendal-Wilson. 2002. “Older Homeless Women: Reframing the Stereotype of the Bag Lady.” Affilia 17(3):354–70.


McDonald, L., J. Serafini and L. Cleghorn. 2007. “Living on the Margins: Older Homeless Adults in Toronto.” Journal of Gerontological Social Work 49(1/2):19–46.


National Coalition for the Homeless. 2007. “Homelessness among Elderly Persons, 2007.” Available at:





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