6 Myths about homelessness

There are many stereotypes and myths about homeless people Below are six of the many misconceptions:Myth 1: All homeless people are addicts.

Only a percentage of homeless people are substance addicts Alcoholism or drug dependence can be a cause of homelessnesshowever, in most occasions, addiction can be a consequence. When living on the streets, it can be easy to become an addict, but many struggle to want to stop  substance use. Myth 2: Homeless people are dangerous.

Statistic show that homeless people are more likely to be victims than being violent themselves. Research found that rough sleepers are more than 17 times more likely to be a victim of violence and:

  • More than 1 in 3 have experienced some form of violence
  • More than 1 in 3 have had things thrown at them
  • Almost 1 in 10 have been urinated on
  • Almost half have been intimidated or threatened with violence
  • Almost 6 in 10 have had been verbally abused or harassed

Myth 3: People choose to be homeless.

There are many personal and structural factors that cause homelessness, these include: lack of affordable housing, unfavourable labour market conditions, mental or physical health issues, domestic abuse, eviction or traumatic events experienced, among others (see post 1). All these circumstances and many others can make it difficult to some people to maintain housing.

Myth 4: There are plenty of services to support  homeless people.   

There are many emergency services, such as shelters and food banks, but they don’t offer long-term solutions. . There is a need to focus on the lack of affordable housing and the criminalisation of homelessness, which many think are the real causes that prevent people from obtaining a job and a permanent house.

Myth 5: Homeless people are lazy and don’t want to work.For many homeless people, securing a job is extremely difficult without having a fixed address and resources such as a phone, computer or transportation.  Also, being homeless can affect peoples physical and mental health In many cases, one homeless people find a job, it is usually part-time or with minimum wage, which is still not enough to pay for the expensive housing costs.

Myth 6: When homeless people find a place to live the problem is solved.

Even when a fixed address is found – many homeless people struggle to adapt. Challenges such as mental health and maintaining a job and regular income can still be a challenge.

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