Busting Myths about Homelessness in Oxford

homeless person in a street in oxford

Busting Myths about Homelessness in Oxford

Homelessness affects lots of different people. Some people become homeless because they have experienced mental health problems, drug or alcohol misuse, domestic violence or abuse, unemployment or family breakdown. Yet, there are still a lot of misconceptions about homelessness that are based on faulty thinking or understanding.

Busting these myths is really important to help the world understand the true realities of homelessness, understand and empathise with our clients, and help us support them. Only by expanding our understanding of homelessness can we begin to support homeless people in a helpful way. So, here are some common myths we wanted to clear up!


Myth 1: Most homeless people choose to be homeless

False. Most people don’t choose to become homeless. Often people experience homelessness after they exhaust all their options and end up losing their housing. Some groups are particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless: young people leaving care, people living on benefits or low incomes, ex-military personnel, ex-offenders, and asylum seekers or refugees.


Myth 2: Homeless people live on the streets

Not always. Homeless people have no permanent home or address. They may sleep on the street, in disused buildings, or in night shelters and other temporary accommodation, but they might also be ‘sofa surfing’ on friends' floors.


Myth 3: People experiencing homelessness should just find a job.

It’s a vicious circle. A person experiencing homelessness has to face a lot of barriers while job hunting. The lack of a permanent address, reliable access to transportation, clean clothes, and other difficulties like mental illness, make it more difficult to obtain and maintain their employment. Even when an individual finds or has a job, this is often part-time or a minimum wage position. This work fails to adequately meet their needs, due to expensive housing costs. In Oxford, the average house price of £513,754 is around 17 times the UK average yearly household income of £29,600.


Myth 4: Everyone you see begging on the streets of Oxfordshire is homeless.

Sadly not. Those you see begging may not genuinely be living on the street. In the end, it's your choice whether or not to give money to those who are begging on the street. However, our experience tells us that most people who beg are likely to spend the money on drugs or alcohol rather than something positive. If you want to give money to help the homeless, we would suggest you give to Homeless Oxfordshire directly. All money donated in this way will help pay for the specialist services we provide to homeless people.


Myth 5: There is no support for homeless people in Oxfordshire.

Yes there is! We provide much needed support to people who find themselves homeless: we give people a safe place to stay via our comprehensive range of accommodation (365 nights a year, with additional beds during SWEP, when temperature is forecast to be 0 degrees or under); we assist with budgeting, Universal Credit and debt issues; we provide toiletries, underwear, and use of laundry facilities; we support the work of the Luther Street Medical Centre to deliver quality healthcare to those in need; we offer a lot of other services to help people out.

By donating, you are supporting our clients to move out of homelessness and back to an independent life.


We are the largest accommodation provider across the county.

Not a member yet? Join us www.homelessoxfordshire.uk/support-us/donate

Help us to end homelessness not just manage it

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