By Ciaran O’Mahony
While we know it’s a serious problem, many myths about homelessness still persist today. Stereotypical assumptions about the choices and attributes of people experiencing homelessness are often extremely inaccurate. Here are some facts that may surprise you.
Myth 1: Homeless people sleep on the streets
Rough sleepers account for just 7% of homelessness in Australia
Source: RMIT ABC Fact Check Twitter page
Myth 2: Homeless people should just get a job
30% of people experiencing homelessness have a job
Myth 3: People are homeless because of drug and alcohol addiction
Around 60% of people experiencing homelessness do not have a drug or alcohol addiction – the remaining 40% generally developed one after finding themselves in hardship.
Myth 4: Homeless people have mental health issues
Only 30% of people experiencing homelessness have mental health issues – many of which occurred after finding themselves homeless.
Myth 5: There are plenty of places for homeless people to stay
Australian homelessness services are forced to turn away 250 people per day
Source: Street Smart Australia
Myth 6: Homelessness is a result of laziness
The leading causes of homelessness in Australia are a lack of housing (45%), escaping family violence (26%), money/income issues (12%) and relationship or family breakdowns (8%).
Source: Katrina Raynor, The Conversation
Myth 7: Homeless people are old
People under 25 comprise 37% of Australia’s homeless population
Myth 8: Homelessness is a minor problem in Australia
The latest Census statistics showed that 116,427 Australians were experiencing homelessness