In January 2018, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development collected nationwide data and determined there were 553,000 homeless people across the country. Now, think of COVID-19 and the drastic impact that had on homeless communities and lower-income families. Two-thirds of all homeless are single adults, while the remaining third is made up of families or young children. Most often, popular perceptions of someone who may be experiencing homelessness are typically driven by their portrayals in the media. Keep reading below to learn some common misconceptions when it comes to homeless communities.
“Most Are Mentally Ill”
Decades of research reveal that one-third of those experiencing homelessness have a serious mental illness. De-institutionalization or closure of mental hospitals was initially believed to be a prime cause of homelessness. With that being said, better access to mental health resources and less negative perceptions of homeless communities could help this issue.
“They Abuse Drugs and Alcohol”
Only about 30% of the homeless have a substance abuse issue. Abuse is rarely the cause of homelessness and more often as a result of living on the streets. Interviews with homeless persons show that most of their money goes to buying food and amenities such as socks, hygiene products, and bottled water.
“Bad Choices Led to Their Homelessness”
Everyone makes mistakes, and this is the mindset we follow at ShowerUp. Everyone is human, and everyone deserves hope, grace, and love. The descent into homelessness may not always be the direct result of one’s choices. Sudden illness or injury, losing one’s job, or falling into debt are all things that could result in eviction, therefore, causing homelessness.
“They Need To Get A Job”
A significant portion of homeless people do have jobs and just cannot afford the steep costs of rental prices. Some receive disability income due to physical or mental health issues but still cannot afford rent. For those wanting to work, the combination of applying for a job with no address, no clean clothes, no place to shower, and the stigma of being homeless or having a criminal record will make such individuals much less appealing to renters.
Be A Part of The Solution with ShowerUp
At ShowerUp, we provide mobile shower and personal hygiene services to homeless communities in Huntsville, Wichita, Nashville, Chicago, and soon Boston, MA! We believe that everyone is human and everyone deserves the basic necessities of personal hygiene. Join us as a volunteer, donate goods and money, or share with a homeless community near you. Get started today!