Friday, August 19, 2011

7 myths about homelessness

Two months ago Richard Brown posted a series about the myths of homelessness. One of the most important ways we can eliminate homelessness is to blow away all the misinformation about the homeless and learn how we can help.

There are many myths and stereotypes about the individuals and families experiencing homelessness in New Jersey. Today we publish the first of some of the common myths about the homeless population, along with the facts that challenge them.

Myth 1: People who are homeless in New Jersey take advantage of the system. Wrong!In actuality, a relatively small percentage of people experiencing homelessness receive government assistance. In 2010, 18% of the homeless population received General Public Assistance, 10% received Social Security Insurance (SSI), and 6% received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF.)
To read more use this link:

Myth 2: Building affordable and supportive housing brings people who are homeless to New Jersey. Wrong!Respondents to the New Jersey 2010 Point in Time Count of the homeless reported that 85% of those surveyed resided in our state before becoming homeless. The reasons some individuals who are homeless move to new areas include that they are searching for work, have family in the area, were originally from the area or have other reasons not related to access to housing.
To read more about this myth use this link:

Myth 3: Individuals and families who are homeless are different than me. Wrong!The homeless population is not made up entirely of single men. New Jersey’s homeless population is made up of individuals, families, veterans, and youth aging out of the foster care system along with other populations. And in fact, families are the largest growing population of the homeless. And many families experiencing homelessness are not even counted as homeless because they are living doubled up with friends or family.
To read more about this myth use this link:

Myth 4: You will never eliminate homelessness. Wrong!We know what works and how to end homelessness – effective prevention and emergency services and permanent affordable and supportive housing. While New Jersey’s homeless population increased 7% over the past two years, that is a relatively small increase given the current economic recession. Chronic homelessness has decreased over the past two years.

And while the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness for the first time is increasing, the number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness has decreased over the past two years.
To read more use this link:

Myth 5: People are homeless because they choose to be homeless. Wrong!
People experience homelessness because they cannot find rental apartments that are affordable. In order to afford a two bedroom apartment in New Jersey, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $4,215/month or $50,577/year. And there are many full time jobs in our state that do not pay that salary. In New Jersey, a minimum wage worker earns $7.25/hour. In order to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 134 hours/week, 52 weeks/year.
To read more about this myth use this link:

Myth 6: The Housing First model does not work. Wrong!
If you ask individuals and families experiencing homelessness, they will tell you that they do not want to remain homeless. The Housing First model of permanent housing shows the success that formerly homeless individuals have when giving permanent housing. The goal of "housing first" is to immediately house people who are homeless.
In New Jersey, the Mercer Housing First Demonstration Initiative has established a sustainable model for substantially reducing the economic, social and personal costs of family and chronic homelessness.
To read more about housing first works use this link:

Myth 7: Homeless people don’t want to work and are lazy. Wrong on both counts!
Many individuals and families are homeless because of a economic, health or relationship crisis and not by choice. In fact, in 2010, 14% of individuals experiencing homelessness in New Jersey (HMIS data) reported that they were currently working and an additional 6% were collecting unemployment benefits.
To read more about this myth use this link-

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