Claire Hall, Myth buster: Homelessness Myths
MYTH: Portland is bussing all its homeless to the coast.
TRUTH: The city does have a program called “Ticket Home” which will buy bus tickets for people who have families or other support in a different community. In the first three years of the program, they have sent ONE person to Lincoln County out of 318 tickets purchased.
MYTH: Many/most of the people who are on the streets want to be homeless.
TRUTH: No rational person would choose to live without the safety of shelter. Think about the old story about the fox and the sour grapes. If you lost everything except your pride, wouldn’t you claim that you’re on the streets by choice.
MYTH: All homeless are transients.
TRUTH: Although some single people experiencing homelessness do move from place to place, the majority have some kind of roots in their community, and more often were not became homeless in the place they’re at now.
MYTH: Proving shelter and services “attracts” homeless people to a community.
TRUTH: See items above. This same claim is trotted out in every community every time there’s an effort to bring in more shelter and services.
MYTH: Everyone living on the streets is mentally ill, an addict, or both.
TRUTH: Although these are contributing factors in many cases, job loss, poverty, poor physical health, domestic violence and abuse, and youth aging out of foster care are also significant causes of homelessness.
Please be mythbusters yourselves and help me in dispelling these myths. Last year, 13,000 people died on the streets of the United States while experiencing homelessness. The costs of homeless to our medical, justice and social systems are huge. The human toll and tragedy is incalculable.