Skip to main content

Facts Refute Myths About Homeless People

By understanding more about homelessness we empower ourselves as a community to solve the problem together. Below are a few common misconceptions about people who experience homelessness, along with some facts that refute those myths.

People need to earn their way back into housing.

When we talk about holding people accountable, we may assume that they've had the same chances that we have all had, but done less with them. We assume their parents packed them lunch for school and helped them do their homework. We may assume a lot of things, but we can be way off base. Most people who become homeless come from backgrounds of systemic abuse and neglect. Statistics in America reveal that the odds of someone in the general population becoming homeless is 1 in 194, whereas those same odds for kids coming out of foster care are 1 in 11.

Homeless people are dangerous.

Homeless people are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than to commit those crimes themselves. People without housing are vulnerable and lack the safety that a home provides. While it is true that homeless people often have lengthy arrest records, they are most often arrested for non- violent crimes associated with not having a home, like trespassing or panhandling.

Homeless people come to Vancouver Island because they have heard about our social services. 

Most people stay in the community where they first became homeless. According to data, only 25% of the homeless population is transient. The majority of people accessing homeless services in Nanaimo are from this area originally.

The greatest misconception about homelessness is that the people who experience it somehow deserve it, should be defined by it, and are less valuable because of it. In reality, homeless people are more often victims of trauma.

They have a right to be defined by who they are rather than by their housing status, and are equally as human and equally as valuable as those of us who have homes of our own.

Our first step as a society to end this tragic problem must be a fundamental recognition of the humanity we all share, regardless of where we sleep each night. Unitarians, being a pretty progressive bunch, generally have these core concepts figured out, as demonstrated by the inherent worth and dignity of every person as one of cornerstones of the Unitarian principles.

Opening our doors to those in need in our community and treating them with respect and kindness seems like such a wonderful way to walk that talk.

Unitarian Shelter Advisory Committee, published in the Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo newsletter.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

About Humanity

"A chosen people is the opposite of a master race, first, because it is not a race but a covenant; second because it exists to serve God, not to master others. A master race worships itself, a chosen people worships something beyond itself. A master race believes it has rights; a chosen people knows only that it has responsibilities." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name, Schocken, New York. 2015.

As someone who does not identify as a chosen people or part of a master race, I ruminate about how to respond to the world, particularly that part of the world I cannot endorse. So I am comforted by the people who have taken on ministry and who feel responsible enough to care for community.

How do I act on a feeling of responsibility without assuming that I know what other people should do, or what we should do? It's very easy to slip into a political preaching that suggests I know, or that my being a good example means that others should follow it. Or worse yet, create…

Creating Chaos

A very important article in The Guardian analyses the rise of hyper-masculinity and the phenomenon of Angry White Men.  "Sociologist Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon. - His recent research has looked at topics including spree killers (who are overwhelmingly male and white), as well as the relationship between masculinity and political extremism."

In the article there is a report on a study on testosterone where 5 monkeys are observed. The one who rises to the top beats up number 2 and number 2 beats up number 3 - and so it goes down to number 5. 

"So the experiment is: he takes monkey three out of the cage and he shoots him up with testosterone, off the scale, and puts him back in. What do you think happens? When I tell this story my students always guess that he immediately becomes number-one monkey. But that’s not true. What happens is that when he goes back in the cage he still avoids monkeys number one and two – but he beats the …

The Ultimate Goal of Patriarchy is the End of Life

I want to clarify the line between men in general and patriarchal values propagated and imposed on human society.


In order for patriarchy to succeed, it had to kill more efficiently than the nine months gestation it took for a woman to give birth.  So the craft of war  became more than simply defending territory. It became the ritualized erasure of our human nature for the rule of centralized power. 

And no, it hasn't succeeded in diminishing the human population on this planet but it has succeeded in sustaining an ideology of what it means to be a man. 

Civilizations built on myths of great conquerors. Histories about the exploits of the greatest killers. Inventions of race, religious ideology and ritual that transformed the teachings of thoughtful prophets into crusades. Endless games of winning and losing.
Men who celebrate life through medicine, science, education, art, philosophy and poetry must be dismissed as soft, shamed as effeminate. 

Men who have been raised with love, love …