Many stereotypes and misconceptions revolve around the homeless community. These misconceptions can prevent homeless people from receiving the help they need. Correcting incorrect stereotypes can aid the homeless community by spreading relevant information that may result in understanding and assistance from others.
Homeless Women are Battered Women
Many women escaping domestic violence end up homeless, but it is not the majority. Less than 40% of female domestic abuse victims become homeless for a time. While homeless women are not all battered women, it is essential to note that there are resources for women running from a dangerous partner.
Since many women fleeing abusive situations have little to no financial support, they can end up living on the street. However, the misconception that all women living on the street prevent those who are not escaping a domestic violence situation from receiving help.
Homeless People are Mentally Ill
Mental illness affects more people than many realize. In fact, according to the CDC, at least 50% of people in the United States will experience mental illness at some point in their lives. In a year, approximately 1 in 5 people experience mental illness. Since many people have a mental illness and a home, it is clear that mental illness is not the primary cause of homelessness.
Data shows that approximately 30% of homeless people have a mental illness.
Homeless People Can’t Afford Homes
Do people want to be homeless? Do they enjoy it? Rarely. Truthfully, people wish for affordable housing. Not only is rent higher than ever before, but people who need somewhere affordable to live are also rising. Income is not increasing as much as housing, and the availability of something people can afford is a problem.
Homeless People Can’t Find Work
You may have heard that homeless people don’t want to do ‘real’ work. Some say that begging is easier than working. The truth is that people living a life of homelessness are constantly working and are rarely given the opportunity to have a real career. They move from place to place, searching for somewhere safe to sleep. They have to find creative ways to get food and items for survival.
How Can Homeless People Get Help?
Helping the homeless starts with seeing these individuals as human beings. Some may be addicts, others may be victims of domestic disputes, and some might have been kicked out of their homes during a tough time. No matter how the person ends up homeless, living on the street does not make them any less human.
It is vital to dismantle common misconceptions so that outsiders are more willing to see the truth and offer help. Sometimes all it takes is a hand offering help.