No one wants to be homeless

Homeless Myth: True or False

Myth 8: Homeless people don’t work and are lazy.

Think Beyond the LabelIt is not true that homeless people do not want to work.

Many individuals and families are homeless because of a economic, health or relationship crisis and not by choice. In fact, in 2010, 14% of individuals experiencing homelessness in New Jersey (HMIS data) reported that they were currently working and an additional 6% were collecting unemployment benefits.

And for those experiencing homelessness who are working, New Jersey is a very difficult to find an affordable apartment in New Jersey. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2010 Out of Reach Report, in order to afford rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $4,215/month or $50,577/year.

Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks/year, this level of income translates into a Housing Wage of $24.32. And as we know, there are many full time jobs that do not pay that high of a wage.

Employment training and education are critical support services to provide to those experiencing homelessness. In Connecticut, the HomeWORK Project, coordinated by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, assists supportive housing providers with removing barriers and connecting their supportive housing tenants to employment. Click here to read more about HomeWORK.

To read our posts on all of the myths about homelessness click here.

Do you have a homeless myth that you would like for us to analyze? If yes, click here to send an email.

We encourage you to share your comments about the homeless myths on this page or on our Facebook page.