Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America

Front Cover
City Lights Books, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 287 pages
16 Reviews

A daughter’s struggle to keep her family alive, through poverty, homelessness and incarceration

Eleven-year-old Lisa becomes her mother’s primary support when they face the prospect of homelessness. As Dee, a single mother, struggles with the demons of her own childhood of neglect and abuse, Lisa has to quickly assume the roles of an adult in an attempt to keep some stability in their lives. “Dee and Tiny” ultimately become underground celebrities in San Francisco, squatting in storefronts and performing the “art of homelessness.” Their story, filled with black humor and incisive analysis, illuminates the roots of poverty, the criminalization of poor families and their struggle for survival.

"Criminal of Poverty lays bare the devastating effects of inheriting a life of poverty, as well the real redemption and power in finding your voice." – Michelle Tea, author of Rose of No Man's Land and Valencia

"Tiny’s indomitable spirit comes to life in her amazing story of poverty and homelessness, reaching into and teaching our hearts and minds. With her flawless descriptions of the pain of living in the margins of the richest country in the world, she opens up an important window onto a reality looked upon by many but truly seen by few, augmenting our capacity for empathy and action in an area so in need of social change. Bravo Tiny, for your gift to us all! Punto!!!" – Piri Thomas, author of Down These Mean Streets

  

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Review: Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America

User Review  - Denise MacDonald - Goodreads

I gave this book one star simply because I didn't like it. I found it very repetitive and somewhat unbelievable in places. For example, Tiny explains that because of her mothers illness she has to ... Read full review

Review: Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America

User Review  - Jeanette - Goodreads

Just bought this book while in SF. She is an excellent writer. I want to finish this book ASAP. It is a great and sad story of how someone who has it all can lose it so suddenly. It also reminds me a little of my current relationship with my mother. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

the end of innocence
1
origin stories grandmother
9
origin stories mother
19
origin stories mom dad
29
origin stories a very young tiny
33
on our own
39
the valley
47
mexico
53
go directly to jail
171
the first intervention
177
the second intervention
183
a healthy mouth is a wealthy mouth
185
the third intervention
195
my sister
203
POOR is born
207
one year later
217

adios
61
estados unidos
69
venice beach
81
the art of survival
89
1984
93
seven days and seven nights
99
berkeley
103
the hustle
109
the apartment
115
pacific gas electric
121
threeday notice
127
one court date away from homelessness
129
incarcerationpoverty criminal
141
the storefront
153
art as life as art
159
bleak
167
hard realities
223
POOR practices
227
hellthcare
233
youth at POOR
237
work
243
welfare deform
249
POOR takes off
253
media resistance
257
life in the face of death
263
mommahouse
271
dees last campaign
275
mama dees road trip
277
a message from my mama
281
FAMILY
285
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Lisa Gray-Garcia became homeless at the age of 11. She is the founder of POOR Magazine, a literary and visual arts magazine, and Poor News Network (PNN), a monthly radio show focusing on issues of poverty and racism. Her journalism has been featured in Common Dreams, the SF Chronicle, as well as many other local and national media outlets.

Bibliographic information