The Truth About Homelessness In america
Homelessness is plagued by stigma, false narratives, and inaccurate representations that make it completely misunderstood by much of the general public. Because of that, we as a society are failing those who need us most.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial to bring awareness to the realities of homelessness in order to drive real collective change for the half a million people who are struggling daily in our communities.
By bringing awareness to the experiences and obstacles those who are unhoused often face, our hope is to empower you with kindness and compassion, so that collectively we can empower those in our communities with tangible resources, care, and support necessary to thrive.
So let’s break down the truth about being unhoused in America.…
Myth: Homelessness is a result of a persons choices.
FACT: There are many different factors that can contribute to an individual experiencing homelessness including the affordable housing crisis, loss of a job, domestic violence, experiencing a health or family emergency, and generations of racial inequalities. While a person’s choices can contribute to their circumstances, “homeless is driven by systemic factors…not personal failings.”
It’s also important to understand that for those living paycheck to paycheck (an estimated 61% of Americans) and even for many who aren’t, all it takes is one hospital visit, one accident, one thing going wrong in your home, one lost job, or one bad day to be left without a roof over your head.
Myth: People experiencing homelessness are just lazy and don’t want to get a job.
FACT: For starters, many people who are are unhoused at not unemployed. An estimated 25% of those experiencing homelessness in the United States have employment, but between the cost of living (in particular, housing) skyrocketing and pay wages failing to increase in tandem, nearly 150,000 people and families are still unable to make ends meet.
In addition, “Research consistently shows that people who are experiencing homelessness want to work and many diligently pursue employment opportunities or work in some capacity.” However, being without housing makes it nearly impossible to find, obtain, and keep formal employment.
What people often don’t think about is that not having a home is much more than not having a roof over your head. It’s also not having a safe place to prepare for a job interview, recover from a days work, shower and clean up on a regular basis (something typically required for most jobs), prepare food, or recover from an injury or illness.
On top of that, other factors such as mental and physical disabilities, addiction, and having a criminal record also create major barriers to obtaining and maintaining steady employment.
Myth: There’s little we can do to change the current state of homelessness in America
FACT: Ending homelessness is not an easy feat, but real change can happen when we come together to collectively empower those who are struggling in our communities.
That means providing them tangible resources, tools, and support including:
- Affordable housing
- Access to life save substance use treatment
- Employment opportunities and necessary trainings to gain employment
- Access to emergency services
- Quality mental health care free of cost
With the help of kind and compassionate people like you, at J&J Lovelace Foundation this is exactly what we do. In partnership with The Alpha Project, and through the collective support of those in our communities, we raise funds that go directly towards creating housing opportunities, and providing access to mental health care, substance use treatment, emergency services, and employment opportunities.
We believe in empowering people to achieve self-sufficiency and change their life through kindness, compassion, and respect.
Together, we have the power today to change tomorrow. Be part of the change by making a donation to support those struggling most.
-Written by Cassie Cipolla for J&J Lovelace Foundation