At Joy Junction, it is our mission to help homeless individuals by giving them a hand-up, not a hand out. We give them a place to stay, a warm meal, and a chance to regain a foothold in life and reintegrate with society through our programs.
We see the faces of the homeless every day, but many don’t. Even the homeless on the street corner asking for help may go by unnoticed.
Sometimes, misconceptions about homelessness can be the reason behind why the plight of the homeless is ignored. People in a position to make a difference don’t really understand what harmlessness is, and so they don’t want to help.
No matter where or how they started, misconceptions and stereotypes related to the homeless can be harmful and detrimental to aid.
Myth: People who are homeless are there because of drug and alcohol problems.
Reality: Homelessness can happen to anyone. While there are individuals who are homeless because of drug or alcohol-related problems, there are many who are there because of mental illness or depression, family problems, domestic abuse and job loss. Some have suffered terrible tragedies, or have lost the ability to function in mainstream society. Others have become ill or were injured and can’t work anymore. The recent problems with the economy caused many people to lose their jobs, and forced many families out onto the streets.
Everyone has a story and a reason they are homeless: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgZmno4AnGE&feature=relmfu
Myth: Homeless are just lazy. They should go out and get a job.
Reality: In reality, many homeless either can’t find a job or don’t have the skills to be hired for or maintain a working position. The depressed economy has made it difficult for anyone to find a job, even if they are qualified.
When someone is homeless, prospective employers wonder where their new employee will sleep at night, if they will be able to arrive at work on time, and if they will look presentable when they get there. Employers are also weary of hiring people who have not been able to find a job, or have only been able to find short-term jobs.
Still others can’t find a job because they never learned the necessary skills, or they never learned how to commit to and keep a job.
So many of the homeless here at Joy Junction want to find a job. They are out during the day job hunting, going from interview to interview and still coming up with nothing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN8trXAU_T0
Myth: The homeless are mostly men.
Reality: Homeless people come from all walks of life. Many women are homeless because they are escaping abusive situations in the home. Some of these women have children with them. There are also many more families finding themselves homeless due to the economy and bad job market.
Clearing up the Misconceptions
Stereotypes and misconceptions like the ones above only harm the homeless. Why not volunteer your time at Joy Junction and clear up these misconceptions for yourself? Sit down and talk with some of our guests, find out what their story is, and spread the word. Help us clear up these misconceptions so that more people will help the homeless of Albuquerque.