202-737-9311 | info@thrivedc.org

Top Ten Homelessness Myths Revisited

Posted on July 20, 2012

A few weeks ago I posted a list of myths about homelessness. As an organization that provides services to men and women experiencing homelessness and that engages over 2,000 individual volunteers each year it is important to Thrive DC that we are able to help our volunteers to have a better understanding of homelessness. I hope you take a few minutes to read over the list of myths below, and the facts behind them, and let us know what you think. Have you ever felt like one of these myths was true? Where do you think these misconceptions come from?

10. Individuals who are homeless do not work. 40% of people who are homeless work part or full time during any given month.

9. Normal, hardworking, law abiding citizens do not become homeless. Every year two to three million people experience an episode of homelessness. 

8. Homeless populations are almost entirely comprised of older men and women. Over a quarter of all homeless people are under 18.

7. The vast majority minors are old enough to survive on their own. 42% of homeless minors are under the age of five.

6. Runaway children primarily leave home out of rebellion. Half of all runaway children are physically or sexually abused before running away.

5. Children who are homeless are relatively content not having a job and living "freely." Nearly a third of all homeless minors attempt suicide.

4. There aren’t actually *that* many veterans who are homeless. 40% of all men who are homeless are veterans.

3. Individuals who are mentally ill and homeless have a choice to be institutionalized, but choose not too be. 25% of the homeless population is mentally ill. Of this, only 5% have conditions that can be publicly institutionalized.

2. Almost all people who are homeless are single men and women. 38% of homeless people are part of families with children.

1.People who are homeless are generally homeless for life, and have no hope of becoming productive members of society. Only 23% of people who are homeless are chronically homeless according to HUD, meaning that 77% of people who are homeless are only in this temporary state for less than a year.

Resources for this list were gathered from
"Homeless Facts." The Homeless.
"Facts." ThinkQuest, and "Facts." ThinkQuest.
"Greater Cincinnati Coaliton for the Homeless: Homelessness Facts." Greater Cincinnati Coaliton for the Homeless.
"11 Facts about Homeless Youth." DoSomething.org.
"Homeless Stats." The Chicago Alliance.
"Chronic Homelessness." Hud.gov.

Don't forget - we have 2 exciting events coming up next week! Our FUNraiser at Marx Cafe and a photography exhibit of work by men and women experiencing homelessness! Hope to see you there!

1525 Newton St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 737-9311

Client Hours:
Tuesday - Friday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM | 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Staff Hours: 
Monday – Friday
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Join Our Mailing List
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram