Here at Maggs, we’re always combating the stigma attached to those experiencing homelessness. It’s part of the job and we love being able to change people’s perceptions about homelessness and address some of the most common misconceptions.

So we’ve put together our top five that we typically hear and want to debunk the myths:

 

Myth 1: People are homeless because of their background, addiction, or lifestyle choices.

Fact: Although there may be an issue with addiction, homelessness is typically caused by circumstances, and the reasons are widespread and cannot be pinpointed. Some examples of this can be displacement, conflict, natural disasters, mental illness, family breakdowns, gentrification and lack of affordable housing.

These circumstances can happen through no fault of their own, for example a landlord has decided to evict them without immediate notice. Unfortunately, the cycle of poverty may continue because of a person’s social, economic or geographical background, but this doesn’t determine all homeless people.

 

Myth 2: All homeless people are mentally ill, dangerous, violent, or criminals.

Fact: In short, absolutely not. As we mentioned above, the reasons why people become homeless is purely based on circumstances and this doesn’t mean that they are bad people.

 

Myth 3: Homeless people are just rough sleepers.

Fact: There are actually three types of homelessness.

Rough sleeping is what most people associate with being homeless, and this is when people have no other choice but to sleep on the street.

One of the other situations can be statutory homelessness, which is the primary type of homelessness. This refers to those entitled to receive assistance from their local authority to prevent them from losing their accommodation, such as temporary accommodation.

The third is ‘hidden homelessness’, which refers to those not eligible for local authority assistance. These individuals can be sofa surfing, living in hotels or hostels, or squatting.

 

Myth 4: Homelessness cannot be solved or is not a serious problem.

Fact: Homelessness can be prevented and ended with adequate resources, policies, and public support. There are many solutions to homelessness that address the root causes of the problem and provide opportunities for people who are homeless to achieve stability and dignity.

Some examples include affordable housing options, increasing income support programs, improving access to education and training opportunities and enhancing social services delivery systems, to name a few!

 

Myth 5: Homeless people are reluctant to change.

Fact: This is a very common misconception and cannot be further from the truth! We work with people everyday who want to make lifestyle changes, and can go through the homeless scale and result in being able to sustain a tenancy, secure a job and develop life skills to have the confidence to return to society. Homelessness is never a lifestyle choice.