There are so many misconceptions about the homeless. Unfortunately, there are many people who believe these misconceptions to be the truth. This only ends up hurting the homeless. When many in a population believe that the homeless don’t want to change or don’t deserve help for any reason at all, there is no push for change and no outpouring of (desperately needed) help.
Myth – The Homeless are Homeless Because They Don’t Want to Change
It is a universal fact that change is difficult for human beings, and for many who are homeless, it can feel like it is almost impossible. There are any number of reasons why finding a way out of bad financial situations, substance abuse, depression, and/or mental health issues can be so difficult.
For many, the resources are just not there; there is not enough state or federal aid, or aid is wrapped up in too much red tape to be any help. For others, their life seems so terrible that they feel there is no way they can turn it around.
There are a very few to whom homelessness is choice. For most, it was forced upon them and they can only wish it were not so.
Myth – The Homeless Are Those You See Sleeping on the Sidewalk or Panhandling on the Corner
The reason statistics on homelessness is so difficult to quantify is that there is no concrete definition for homelessness. But more than that, many who are homeless are not living on the street, and not even seeking refuge in a shelter like Joy Junction. They, many of them families, or children and teens alone, stay with family or friends. Many times, they move from family to friend to car and back, never settling in one place for too long.
Some stay in low-income hotels (usually in an unsafe part of town). Others are in their cars, working at whatever odd jobs they can find and moving from place to place.
The point is, none of these people have a permanent roof over their heads, but they are not visible. Many say that the homeless are invisible, but the homeless living lives such as these truly can be invisible.
Myth – People are Homeless because they Have a Made Bad Choices
There will always be those who find themselves in a situation of their own making. However, many homeless are homeless because of outside forces and situations that were beyond their control.
For some, poverty is all they’ve ever known. They don’t have the resources or support to escape and are caught in a never-ending cycle. Others are victims of circumstance, like those who lost everything when they market crashed. This includes those who thought they had a secure job they had worked at for years; homelessness never even crossed their minds. Many are educated, some with advanced degrees.
Homelessness can strike anyone and anywhere.