Claire Hall, Myth buster: Homelessness Myths

Sometimes solving problems requires some detective work and mythbusting, Claire Hall, mythbuster, here to get to the bottom of some of the common and persistent myths in our community surrounding homelessness. Here we go!

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.


  1. Hi Claire,
    As President of Lincoln City Homeless Solutions I must say that only 40% of our housing stock is available to Lincoln City Citizens, and result is homelessness. I guess our citizens are less important than the visitors. Our visitors enjoy the services of our citizens, but these citizens can't afford to live in Lincoln City or Newport. This is the reason our seniors and low income families can't live here. It is all about the almighty dollar. Government can make better choices. Thank you for your work on promoting more housing for seniors and low income folks.. The cause of homelessness is lack of affordable housing. It is up to our City Councils and Commissioners to promote policies which encourage more housing for our citizens!!!

    1. This week I think it's very likely that our board will direct staff to cap the number of vacation rentals in the unincorporated areas of the county. I understand Newport has also done a cap. I agree that anything that lessens the housing supply for year-around residents is contributing to housing scarcity.


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