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Ten Myths About Homelessness

1. Homelessness is only about middle-aged men.

The face of homelessness is changing. In fact, the fastest growing segments of the homeless population are women and families with children.

2. Homeless people need to “just get a job”.

Getting a job is incredibly difficult for a homeless person. Most lack clean clothes, showers, transportation, a permanent address and phone number. Others have a criminal past, learning disabilities or a lack of education that holds them down. Even if they find work, their low income often cannot sustain them.

3. Homeless people are dangerous.

Homelessness is often associated with drugs, alcohol, violence and crime, but rarely toward those who help them.

4. Homeless people are lazy.

Surviving on the street takes work. Homeless men and women are often sleep-deprived, cold, wet, and sick. Their minds, hearts and bodies are exhausted. It can take a full day to reach a destination, find food, and find a safe place to sleep. And they do this while lugging their few possessions along with them in a bag or backpack. It is not a life of ease.

5. People are homeless by choice.

People lose jobs and then housing. Women run away to escape domestic violence. Many struggle with mental illness, depression, post-traumatic stress or simply cannot cope with trauma in their lives. Poor choices can contribute to homelessness, but outside circumstances strongly influence those choices.

6. If homeless people wanted to, they could pull themselves out of it.

Imagine trying to get a job when you have no address, no phone number, no shower and no clean clothes. Often, things like legal issues, criminal history, mental illness, physical and emotional health hinder progress even more.

7. Providing food and shelter only enables people to remain homeless.

By offering food and shelter, we build relationships and give a hand up to people in need. Then we’re able to offer something more through our residential services to equip them to be successful, productive citizens.

8. If we provide sufficient affordable housing, homelessness will end.

Putting a roof over the head of a deeply hurting person will not heal emotional wounds, break addiction, create relational stability or establish healthy life skills.

9. Homelessness will never happen to me.

The majority of people we serve never intended to become homeless. They’ve had solid jobs, houses and families. But at some point, life fell apart. They are desperate for a way back home.

10. Homelessness will never end.

Homelessness will not be eliminated everywhere for all time. But homelessness does end—one life at a time. With your help, we continue to restore the lives of hurting men, women and children every day.