Busting the Myths of Homelessness

A look at who experiences homelessness in Tarrant County

Busting the Myths of Homelessness

A look at who experiences homelessness in Tarrant County

“Homeless” is a temporary state of being, not a homogeneous group of people.

The only thing that everyone experiencing homelessness has in common is that they do not have a home at this current moment in time. Common misconceptions abound.

Risk Factors for Homelessness

While each person experiencing homelessness is unique, there are a variety of factors which can lead to homelessness and serve as barriers to housing. These include but are not limited to:

When someone is experiencing multiple factors, their risk increases exponentially.

Not Everyone Experiencing Homelessness Is…

…A Single, Adult Male

According to the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition (TCHC), on any given night, the following people are experiencing homelessness right here: 1149 men, 766 women, 410 people in families, and 282 children.

…Chemically Dependent or Mentally Ill

According to the TCHC, the actual rate of chemical dependency and/or mental illness among people without homes in Tarrant County is 18%.

..A Dangerous Criminal

Often, merely being in the state of homelessness can lead to legal issues, but it is untrue that all people in homelessness are dangerous criminals.

…Homeless By Choice

It is categorically false that people without homes choose to live on the streets. Even those who claim otherwise often come around after building a relationship of trust with a professional case manager.

…On East Lancaster or Downtown

People are experiencing homelessness all across the area, in every neighborhood. People gravitate to areas where they are comfortable, returning to those areas even when they have been “moved” to more “acceptable” locations.


“Get a job!” is a refrain often proffered as a “cure” for homelessness. We encounter people every day who have jobs but are experiencing homelessness nonetheless. People can become homeless due to unemployment, but they can also become unemployed due to homelessness. We also work with many people who for a variety of reasons are unable to work and support themselves.

Does all this mean you’ll never encounter an alcoholic, single, male ex-con with mental illness who prefers to live on East Lancaster and not work? Of course not. He exists.

But so do thousands of people with their own stories, situations, and factors which led to their current state.

Housing First makes housing last.

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