Public attitudes to homelessness: findings from a Scotland-wide survey
Belief in 'myths' about homelessness
One common ‘myth’ about homeless people is that most sleep rough. Only a tiny proportion of homeless people are on the street and many have (often precarious) arrangements to stay with friends or family. However, this is clearly a myth that resonates with the public – 61 per cent agreed that ‘most homeless people sleep rough outside at some point’.
Other myths the survey explored are perhaps better described as ‘preconceptions’ about people experiencing homelessness:
- Around 1 in 5 agreed that ‘most people end up being homeless simply because they drink too much’.
- A similar proportion agreed that ‘most homeless people use hard drugs’.
The groups of people who were most likely to agree with these two statements were similar to the groups who were more likely to hold ‘critical’ attitudes towards homeless people in general.