Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Don Mitchell


capitalism, homelessness, housing first, neoliberal, poverty governance, welfare

Subject Categories

Geography | History | Sociology


"Housing first" is the new orthodoxy for homelessness policy in the United States, a program design expected to end homelessness once and for all. Unlike the traditional "treatment first" model, housing first places the most expensively homeless individuals immediately into an apartment (with treatment following). Although certainly different from the treatment first model due to its prioritization of housing, housing first remains a product of neoliberal poverty governance. By examining program operations in greater Phoenix, Arizona, it is clear that housing first proceeds as a stigma-reproducing rehabilitation program of socioeconomic discipline that works in tandem with anti-homeless laws and service dependent ghettos to move homeless populations away from gentrifying urban geographies. The potential of housing first to rehabilitate and create "self-sufficient" individuals, however, is severely limited by the broader and older assault on welfare. Even still, housing first functions to cheaply hide the most visible victims of capitalist contradiction and neoliberal policy to facilitate capital accumulation across metropolitan Phoenix.


Open Access



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