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Myths About Homelessness
Myth: People experiencing homelessness made "bad" choices that led to homelessness.
Everyone makes mistakes, but the descent into homelessness is not necessarily the direct result of “choices.” Far more often a sudden illness or an accident, losing one’s job, or falling into debt leads to eviction—or doubling up with family or friends is no longer an option.
Myth: People experiencing homelessness abuse alcohol and drugs.
It is believed that only about 20 to 40 percent of homeless have a substance abuse issue. In fact, abuse is rarely the sole cause of homelessness and more often is a response to it because living on the street puts the person in frequent contact with users and dealers.
Myth: People experiencing homelessness are dangerous and violent .
Homeless persons are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. Of course, some homeless individuals may commit acts of violence beyond self-defense but such acts rarely affect the non-homeless individuals they encounter. To put it another way, any violence by homeless persons is either self-defense or due to the rare violent perpetrator who preys on other homeless people. Non-homeless need to understand this.
Myth: People experiencing homelessness are mentally ill.
Decades of epidemiological research reveals that one-third, at most, have a serious mental illness. De institutionalization or closure of mental hospitals was initially believed to be a prime cause of homelessness, but this occurred well before the sharp increase in the 1980s.
Most Common Ways Guests Take Care of Themselves
- Soup kitchens
- Access to resources like:
- Tha Table
- GraceFull Cafe
- Cafe 180
- SWSN food bags during the season
- Through donation programs like:
- Colorado Coalition for the homelessness
- Samaritan House
- Denver Rescue Mission
- Find items on the street
- Build a camp in a spot that feels safe
- Register for a shelter
- Stay with family and friends as long as possible
- Live out of their car
- Shelter-based clinics
- Mobile health care services
- Rescue missions
- Community health centers
- Medicaid and other government programs
Did You Know…?
There are no brick-and-mortar shelters for men and women outside the city limits of Denver.
There are no legal places for a person living on the streets to sleep.
Homeless constantly deal with theft of their belongings and identification.
A lot of the people we shelter do work and are on long waitlists for affordable housing.
We are completely funded through donations and grant requests.
People experiencing homelessness with alcohol or drug abuse probably didn’t start out that way.
The community we serve is scared to stay downtown.
Even people experiencing homelessness like to stay in a geographical area they are comfortable with.
Single adults seldom have access to affordable housing programs as women, children, disabled, seniors, and vets take priority.
700 people experiencing homelessness die from hypothermia each year.
44% of people experiencing homelessness are unsheltered.