Urban myths about homelessness. Separating fact from fiction
There are some big myths out there, all of which, we can put right.
- Don’t people choose to be homeless?
We have not yet met any homeless people who truly wanted to live on the street. Living on the street is dangerous. Homeless people are often abused and attacked, discriminated against and alienated. They are often sleep-deprived, under-nourished and unwell. It’s cold, dirty and humiliating living on the street. Many are there because they simply cannot see another way of dealing with things. Every one of the homeless people we work with wants a home. Most also want to work.
- Don’t people need an address to get a benefit?
Every person correctly registered with Work and Income can receive a benefit. Part of the Housing First approach is making sure everyone is receiving their entitlement. That said, many are living on less than $100 a week. Many have overwhelming debts and fines.
- Aren't all beggars homeless?
Worldwide it is recognised that the majority of beggars are not homeless. The public needs to know that when people are begging and saying they're homeless, that's not necessarily accurate.
- Homelessness can't be fixed, can it?
There are communities worldwide who are close to ending homelessness. They have done this by adopting the Housing First Model and focusing on ending homelessness rather than managing it. They have done this by collaborating across communities and co-ordination of mostly existing community resources. Worldwide, developing a stock of safe, affordable housing has been key to success.