Myths About Homelessness
Myth One: People experiencing homelessness are all mentally ill or addicted to drugs or alcohol
Fewer than 10% of the families HFH serves are experiencing homelessness due to mental illness and none of the families we serve are experiencing homelessness due to substance abuse. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, families typically become homeless because of some unforeseen financial crisis that prevents them from being able to hold on to housing.
Myth Two: People experience homelessness because they don’t want to work.
46% of the families HFH serves have a job, but they are low-paying jobs. At Welcome One, 97% of its residents had an income of $24,000 or less annually. In Harford County, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom home is $1,243. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, for a 40-hour work week, a wage of $29.04/hour is needed to afford housing costs of no more than 30% of a family’s income. That translates to 3.4 minimum wage earners per household.
Myth Three: There is only a large homeless population if you see people sleeping on the street.
Families experiencing homelessness do whatever is necessary to keep their children off the streets. They are typically working at low paying jobs during the day while their children are in school or with a sitter. They move from place to place or stay in cheap motels until they run out of funds. Eventually, they end up sleeping in their cars, staying in tents, or temporarily doubling-up with friends or family members