Myths About Homelessness

Myths About Homelessness

More than 4,000 people are homeless on the streets of Portland. Upwards of 11,000 more people are dangerously close to being homeless. Here is our “7 Myths About Homelessness” infographic we hope will serve as an informative and helpful resource to you. (Find three more myths below).

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And here are three more additional myths that people believe about homelessness.

1. Homeless people are dangerous.

Homelessness is often associated with drugs, alcohol, violence and crime. So yes, life on the streets can be perilous for homeless men and women. But very few crimes are committed by homeless people against those of us who try to help them. At Portland Rescue Mission, the attitude we see most often from homeless men and women is gratitude.

2. Homeless people are lazy.

Surviving on the street takes more work than we realize. Homeless men and women are often sleep-deprived, cold, wet, and sick. Their minds, hearts and bodies are exhausted. Though help is available, they may have no idea where to begin navigating the maze of social service agencies and bureaucracy. With no transportation and little money, they can spend all day getting to food and maybe an appointment before they need to search for a safe place to sleep. And they do this while lugging their precious few possessions along with them in a bag or backpack. It is not a life of ease.

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

Once a man or woman loses a job or a home, getting those things back can feel nearly impossible. Imagine trying to get a job when you have no address to put on a resume, no phone number, no shower and no clean-pressed clothes. Often, things like legal issues, criminal history, mental illness, physical and emotional health hinder progress even more.