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This course is designed to deepen our understanding of hunger and homelessness in the United States, mainly as a consequence of severe poverty. Through classroom study and field experiences, we will explore the social, economic, and political causes of these problems. I have organized the course around five core questions:
- What is life like for the hungry, the homeless, and the near-homeless in the U.S?
- How many homeless and near-homeless are there?
- What are the major and minor causes of homelessness and hunger?
- What are individuals, small organizations, and governments doing to help? Whatcan they do to help?
- What does it take to solve these problems? What can governments, organizations, and private citizens contribute?
The course combines in-class and out-of-class work in unusual ways. We will begin with an in-class overview, led both by the course leader and by student presentation teams. We will then shift our learning to out-of-class activities of two types. Working as research teams, we will seek answers to the core questions, using class time to process our out-of-class results. Working individually, each student will volunteer time with a local agency aiding the hungry and homeless. At the end of the semester, we will develop projects that draw on our experiences to teach others what we have learned.