Homeless people were once called hobos and applied mostly to transient men, with no family ties, who hopped the rails, often looking for work. Homelessness is a social issue that stems from: addictions, illness, poverty, abuse, plus so much more.
The causes of homelessness and poverty are complicated. A person’s situation can’t be pinned down to one specific cause or event. It is a social issue that requires a network of resources and a multi-faceted approach if we want to end homelessness.
Over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness on a given night. For the rest of the population, the circumstances of homelessness are often misunderstood. It’s time we debunk the most common myths about homelessness and the people who experience it.
- have a choice
- all addicts and alcoholics
- lazy – not wanting to work
- taking advantage of the system
- single white males
- should not have pets – can’t take care of themselves
- homelessness will never happen to me
The first step in ending homelessness is to understand it. Debunking myths about homeless people will help reduce stigma, break stereotypes and increase empathy.
Stella lived a life of misery – cold, wet and hungry. On most days she would rather have been dead. But worse than anything else was the humiliation that she felt when she had to beg. Shaking a tin-can hoping that a kind person would offer her some change.
Stella struggled along, living on the streets of Victoria, hoping to remain anonymous and simply did what it took in order to survive. She never spoke of her past, determined to keep her life-story a secret. Stella lived within the nameless, faceless, placeless tribe – invisible in the wide open.
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