This week’s mythbuster is from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
Myth: People who are homeless are violent, dangerous, and/or are lawbreakers
Fact: While a larger number of people experiencing homelessness have substance use disorders than the general population, a person who is homeless is no more
likely to be a criminal than a housed person, with one legal exception: camping ordinances. But of course people who are homeless break that law merely by being homeless. A person who is homeless is less likely to perpetuate a violent crime than a housed person, and is in fact more likely to be the victim of a violent
crime, especially if they are a homeless woman, teen, or child.
Who should be afraid of whom?
In their latest report, Vulnerable to Hate: A Survey of Bias-Motivated Violence against People Experiencing Homelessness in 2016-2017, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) documented at least 112 anti-homeless attacks that occurred in the United States in 2016 and 2017 and analyzed 1,769 reported acts of violence committed against homeless individuals from 1999-2017. Of the 1,769 violent acts, 476 victims lost their lives as a result.
And here in Tacoma in December 2020: 2 charged in fatal attack on Tacoma homeless encampment