THE SOURCE: “Down and Out in Chicago” by T. M. Luhrmann, in Raritan, Winter 2010.
In Chicago, a seven-year wait confronts poor people hoping to move from homeless shelters to longer-term subsidized housing. Those judged psychotic, however, can make the move in only two weeks. Yet there are very few takers.
Stanford anthropologist T. M. Luhrmann tried to get behind the wall of mental illness to understand this mystery. She planted herself in the homeless shelters and drop-in centers of a tiny, two-to-three-block area with probably “the densest concentration of persons with serious psychotic disorder in the entire state of Illinois...