The Homeless of 1946
Students will identify the major causes of homelessness in 1946
and how the Cleveland community responded. Students will compare
and contrast the homeless situation in 1946 with the homeless
OPA - Office of Price Administration: Established in 1942 to insure
against inflation during World War II. The OPA was authorized
by Congress to set price ceilings. Was kept in place for a year
after the war in order to control post-war inflation.
- Who were the "homeless" in 1946? Why were they homeless
and what did the community and government of Cleveland do for
the homeless in 1946?
- How different are the issues of the homeless in 1946 than
the issues of the homeless in 1996. What are the similarities
- Ask students to imagine what it must have been like at the
end of World War II. Ask them to imagine themselves as a soldier
who has fought in the war, who has just been released from the
service and is now looking forward to returning home. What will
he have to do when he returns home? (find a job, marry his girlfriend,
find a place to live, re-adjust to civilian life, etc.) What problems
or changes might he find when he returns home? Ask students to
brainstorm on what problems the community might find as soldiers
- Distribute readings to students. If you choose to use groups
with this activity, assign a different reading for each group.
Ask students to identify the problem, the cause, and responses
or solutions offered in the article for the problem. Each group
will report their findings to the class.
- Distribute the charts to the class and have students complete
them as the groups report.
- Once all groups have reported, have the class complete the
present-day comparisons of homelessness on the chart. Continue
the class discussion of the issues and Brainstorm solutions to
the problems in 1946 and possible solutions to the problems in
- Have students research and identify the appropriate government
agency in Cleveland that is responsible for housing and problems
of the homeless. Have students write a letter to that agency expressing
concerns for the homeless and possible solutions to the problem.
You may choose to have them write an editorial to a local newspaper
as an alternate writing activity.
- Additional activities may include identifying a class community
project specifically designed to help the homeless in their community,
such as a clothing drive, food drive, contacting a local shelter
and offering specific assistance for their needs.