Homeless Myth: True or False
Myth 9: All homeless people are mentally ill or abuse drugs and/or alcohol.
Only a small percentage of people experiencing homelessness are mentally ill or abuse drugs and/or alcohol. As we have discussed under previous myths, most people become homeless due to an economic, health, or relationship crisis.
The 2010 New Jersey Point in Time Count of the Homeless reported that only 27% of individuals who were homeless surveyed reported to have mental illness and only 19% reported abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
And most likely there is some overlap within those percentages since it is likely that many of the individuals who answered yes to either question have been “dually diagnosed.” And for those with mental illness or addiction issues, effective case management paired with affordable housing can help them break the cycle of homelessness.
The homeless population is not just made up of the single man or woman living on the streets, the population is also made up of many families, children and youth who typically have other reasons for being homeless than mental illness or addiction to drugs or alcohol.
To read our posts on all of the myths about homelessness click here.
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