Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis open access


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Benjamin Sosnaud

Second Advisor

Alfred Montoya


In my analysis, I show that social power (proximity to policy change) is the most important determinant of how those involved in this research thought about homelessness and the resources needed to address the unhoused community’s experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic. Those closest to high levels of social power demonstrate discourses of hierarchy of trauma and control most often to justify their actions. Those with low levels of social power invoked the superhero discourse. Most notably both groups exhibit benign neglect to explain the response (or lack of response) in aiding unhoused people during the pandemic. Though the discourses are different, all roads lead to the assumption that the unhoused community is well-served and unscathed in the pandemic. As described in the data, this assumption is very likely untrue. This analysis illuminates how discourses about homelessness allowed my informants to justify the inadequate resources available to unhoused people during the pandemic, relinquishing them of their responsibility to support all community members.