Knecht, Tom and Lisa K. Martinez. “Humanizing the Homeless: Does Contact ErodeStereotypes?.”
Social Science Research
(2009): 521-534. Print.
This article uses Project Homeless Connect as the setting to test the theory of the contacthypothesis. Project Homeless Connect (PHC) provides a central place for homeless people to gofor a day and utilize all the services available to them in Denver. The volunteers for PHC weregiven a survey before and after the event that asked questions about their general opinionstowards homeless people and their opinions about policies affecting the homeless. The contacthypothesis predicts that after personal interaction between domiciles and homeless people, thevolunteers will experience a shift in opinions about the homeless.
The article mentions many restrictions and considerations that may compromise thevalidity of the experiment. For example, because the survey uses volunteers, there is no way toget a truly random sample of domiciles. Also, the type of person that is likely to volunteer for PHC is most likely already on the end of the spectrum that is less likely to appreciate stereotypesand negative opinions about the homeless. Nonetheless, the authors point out that regardless of how the subjects answer before they volunteer, any shift in attitude supports the contacthypothesis.
The results of the surveys before and after PHC proved that after personal interactionwith the homeless, the volunteers tended to shift their attitude to one that sees homeless peopleas more human and less at fault for their situation. However, the results also highlighted the factthat volunteers were less willing to shift their views about policies concerning homeless.Although their perception of the homeless people they connected with shifted to one of more