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Housing Myths & Facts

MYTH: Supportive housing is another name for drug treatment. 

FACT: Supportive housing (or Permanent Supportive Housing) is an evidence-based housing model used throughout the country that combines housing with voluntary onsite services. Tenants sign leases and have all the rights and responsibilities—including paying rent—under California law. They also have access to onsite counselors to support their long-term housing stability, which may include counseling related to managing substance use or mental health issues. Inpatient and outpatient drug treatment facilities must be licensed by the State of California and operate very differently than supportive housing.

MYTH: Home values go down and crime rates increase when homeless programs move-in. 

FACT: Research on the impact of supportive housing on neighbors and neighborhoods shows that there is a neutral to positive impact on home values and crime rates when small supportive housing developments under 50 units are located in low-concentration neighborhoods.

MYTH: Neighbors can organize to block housing for homeless people.

FACT: For decades, neighborhood opposition blocked much-needed housing in cities like Claremont, directly contributing to California’s homelessness crisis. As a result, new By-Right Housing laws now waive the public process for new 100% affordable and supportive housing.

MYTH: Homeless people are more likely to be criminals.

FACT: Research shows that people who are unhoused are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent and serious crime; and the majority of crimes perpetrated by people who are unhoused are the result of laws that criminalize homelessness. These laws are proven to be costly, ineffective, and in some cases, unconstitutional.

MYTH: It’s not safe for children to be around homeless people. 

FACT: Unhoused people are no more likely than housed people to harm children. Research on physical and sexual abuse of children overwhelmingly proves that children are abused by adults they know. The notion that unhoused people present a greater danger to schoolchildren than anyone else is factually incorrect, stigmatizing, and harmful.

MYTH: Creating more programs only enables homelessness and attracts more homeless people. 

FACT: Research shows that homelessness is a homegrown problem and people experience homelessness in the same communities where they were once housed. People experiencing homelessness want the same things that housed people do: to live in the communities where they have family, job opportunities, and social connections.

MYTH: It’s safer to house homeless people away from families, schools, and parks. 

FACT: People who are unhoused have families, go to school, enjoy outdoor spaces, and want to contribute to their communities to make them safe, livable places.

MYTH: Homelessness is caused by mental illness and substance abuse. 

FACT: Homelessness is caused by income inequality, lack of affordable housing, and systemic racism; mental illness and substance use are symptoms of homelessness, not the cause. Housing is the solution to homelessness, and allows people to manage mental illness or substance use issues exacerbated by homelessness.

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