Challenging the stigma around homelessness
Busting myths about people experiencing homelessness
We feel really strongly about challenging the stigma around homelessness and those who are marginalised and in most need. So we thought we'd share 3 common misconceptions :
1. Everyone who is homeless is addicted to drugs and became homeless because of a drug addiction.
The biggest reason for homelessness in the UK, is eviction from a private rented home (38.3%*), followed by family / friends no longer willing or able to accommodate (25.2%) and loss of private rented tenancy (24.2%*).
However, substance and alcohol abuse is more common among homeless people than the general public- 38% roughly suffer from alcohol dependency, whilst 26% abuse drugs*, but the trend we see is that many people start using drugs and alcohol once they become homeless, as a way to cope with the traumas and dangers of living on the streets.
Just one of the many reasons our Partners offer counselling, rehabilitation, and other forms of support, so that not only are we housing those most in need we're able to give them a chance to change the trajectory of their life.
2. All homeless people have mental illnesses.
45% of people experiencing homelessness have been diagnosed with a mental health issue. This rises to 8 out of 10 people who are sleeping rough. It might not be "all" homeless people or as high as 100%, but it's absolutely heartbreaking nonetheless and unfortunately, it's no surprise considering the level of severe trauma and suffering a lot of these people go through.
It is however, an opportunity for us as Christians to step-in and extend a hand of grace, love and support. Showing them just how much Jesus see's and loves them. An opportunity for us to invest both financially and spiritually, into an incredible Kingdom mission that makes a difference.
3. People often assume homeless are violent and dangerous.
The truth is homeless people are much more likely to be victims of violence than to be perpetrators. In fact, people on the streets are almost 17 times more likely to be victims of violence and 15 times more likely to suffer verbal abuse than the general public.
A recent study from Crisis, showed that almost 8 out of 10 have suffered some sort of violence, abuse or anti-social behaviour in the past year – often committed by a member of the public – while nearly 7 in 10 (66%) reported that "life on the streets is getting worse".
Here's some other shocking figures:
- More than 1 in 3 have been deliberately hit, kicked or experienced some other form of violence whilst homeless (35%)
- More than 1 in 3 have had things thrown at them whilst homeless (34%)
- Almost 1 in 10 have been urinated on whilst homeless (9%)
- More than 1 in 20 have been the victim of a sexual assault whilst homeless (7%)
- Almost half have been intimidated or threatened with violence whilst homeless (48%)
- Almost 6 in 10 have had been verbally abused or harassed whilst homeless (59%)
Let's not forget that these are son's and daughter's of Christ too! They deserve to be treated with respect and love. So I urge you today, if you walk past someone on the street, stop and say "hey", offer to grab them a coffee, or some lunch, ask them about their day, or better yet, ask them if you could pray for them.
Together we will see lives changed and hearts transformed.
*Statistics taken from this link