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HOMELESSNESS MYTHS


C@P’s StoryTeller, Sterling, researched and wrote on this topic. Below is an excerpt from his article. Click the button at the end of the excerpt to read the full article.


According to journalist Kyle Iboshi, “It’s difficult to measure the increase in gun violence among the homeless because nobody’s tracking the data. Unlike sex or race, housing status is not something detectives log when recording a crime victim’s data.” Although Iboshi was writing about increased gun victimization of the homeless, the data is equally difficult to track in relation to possessing firearms since housing status isn’t a generally tracked status.


Surprisingly however, there is plenty of data showing that homeless people are more often victims of violent crime, rather than perpetrators. Additionally, according to Greg Townley, from the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative at Portland State University, “It's also really important to know that there are many instances of housed people enacting violence against people who are homeless.”


In looking to establish how violent a threat the homeless are to homeowners, one quickly discovers that it’s actually the housed who victimize the houseless more often. A report by The National Coalition for the Homeless found “the number of undeclared hate crimes resulting in the death of a homeless person happened at double the rate of other hate crime deaths based on religion, race or disability. Between 1999 and 2017, hate crime deaths among the general population totaled 183. In this same time period, 483 homeless people were killed in attacks by housed people.”


In addition to our unsheltered neighbors facing increased harassment, assault and victimization, they experience additional harm when “they all got guns” thinking and other myths influence our public opinion and perception in ways making it more challenging to look beyond the stereo-types and towards implementing evidence-based solutions to our housing crisis such as affordability assistance, housing-first programs and wrap-around services.

 

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