Book Review: Matthew D. Marr, Better Must Come: Exiting Homelessness in Two Global Cities


Dr. Marr’s book takes a comparative approach to homelessness exits in Los Angeles and Tokyo. His multilevel theoretical model is essentially the mirror image of the multilevel models of the causes of homelessness, now widely accepted. People become homelessness because of the interaction of inequitably distributed markets in housing and work, through limited and failed social protections, and the mediation of these forces in the conflicted lives of disadvantaged people, families, and communities. Perhaps not surprisingly, people get out of homelessness through the reverse mediation of these larger markets and social forces and through helpful social connections. Here, Dr. Marr introduces the term forgiving to describe the social contexts that make it possible to exit homelessness: While surmounting the complex problems that drive people into homelessness requires substantial individual resilience, exits from homelessness also depend on forgiving contexts at multiple social
levels—whether favorable conditions in local labor and housing markets, flexible and holistic social service settings, or cultural milieux that promote mutual aid among friends, family, and community. These are social contexts that work against the global and local trends driving inequality and that can promote exits from homelessness.

Publication Date: 
Los Angeles,Tokyo