Reality: While it’s estimated 25-50% of those affected by homelessness have mental health or substance abuse problems, many face different challenges. These challenges can be the product of an accident, or brought on by the ever-rising costs of food, rent, medication, and other essentials.
Homelessness is not always caused by health issues. It is often caused by economic issues, or other unexpected challenges. People experiencing homelessness come from all kinds of backgrounds. These people could be your neighbors your friends, or even your family. Some of these people include:
- Seniors on fixed incomes facing rent increases.
- Women and their families in transition from abusive relationships
- The working poor
- Single parents who lose their jobs
- Youth leaving government care
- Low-income families who can’t find affordable housing
- People with special needs, work-related injuries, and mental or physical disabilities
- Young adults earning minimum wage
There is no one face of homelessness, no convenient stereotype to explain the issue away. Instead, there is a mosaic made of different faces –different people- from different backgrounds, with different stories.
For more information about the connection between mental health and homelessness: Homeless Hub
The recent death of 48 year old David Omness in Beacon Hill Park reminds us just how at-risk people experiencing homelessness are. In addition to the daily trials they must face – the challenge of getting meals, a shower and just generally surviving – people experiencing homelessness face serious health issues. Continue reading
Scientific research around the country has proven that two of the most important components of any plan to end homelessness are housing first and harm reduction. As a result we at the Coalition have made these methodologies key to our mission to end homelessness in the Capital Region. Continue reading
You see a young man* walking towards you on the sidewalk. At first he appears just fine, but as you approach you notice that his steps aren’t quite as direct and sure as your own. You notice him fumbling in his pocket for a note. As you get close enough, he requests your help in words that aren’t quite clear, “can you read this for me – I’m not sure where I need to go.”
Do you stop and help? Do you shake your head and move on? Do you make assumptions about substance abuse or mental illness? Continue reading
This Saturday is International Overdose Awareness Day – to mark the day we are sharing a Greater Victoria harm reduction initiative spearheaded by AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI) to prevent deaths among people who use illicit drugs. Continue reading