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QUICK FACTS

When people in our community are misinformed, it makes it harder for all of us to help people get housed and stay housed. If you've ever heard one of the following myths, please help us bust them so we can all be working with the same information. 

FACT OR MYTH?

The biggest data set of info we have is from something called the "Point In Time" (PIT) count done every two years. The PIT count has a survey component where volunteers are trained to go out into the community and interview  a statistically representative number of people experiencing homelessness (in recent year 600+). These surveys help us understand key details about our unhoused neighbor's lives. At the bottom of the page you'll find links to the most recent PIT count executive summary and the full report for you data hounds out there!

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" Homeless people in Santa Cruz aren’t from Santa Cruz"

MYTH

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" Homeless people don’t have jobs and don’t want to work"

MYTH

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" Most people are homeless because they want to be"

MYTH

MYTH #1
"Homeless people in Santa Cruz aren’t from Santa Cruz"

This is one we hear all the time along with "people come to Santa Cruz just to be homeless". Year after year, the PIT count data shows that this just isn't true. In the chart below from the most recent PIT summary, you'll see that 89% of people experiencing homelessness surveyed lived here for a year or more BEFORE becoming homeless!

MYTH #2
" Homeless people don’t have jobs and don’t want to work"

According the most recent PIT data, 31% of homeless people have a job and another 60% are either looking for work or cannot work (not choosing not to, unable to work)

MYTH #3
" Most people are homeless because they want to be"

There are a few ways to bust this myth. First off, anyone who has worked or volunteered with people experiencing homelessness will tell you that most of the people they encounter would be THRILLED to have housing. Being homeless is incredibly hard work. It's hard to get enough to eat, stay warm, and keep yourself, your loved ones, and your belongings safe. Most people living unsheltered get very poor sleep because they can never really sleep deeply for fear they'll be assaulted, robbed, or get ticketed, fined, or arrested. 

But don't take our word for it. According to the most recent PIT count data, 28% said that eviction or rent hikes were responsible for their most recent episode of homelessness, 19% said separation or family violence caused them to be homeless, and 26% said it was because they lost their job. Read the full report for all the reasons people listed as causal factors of their homelessness. You'll see that instead of people choosing to be homeless, it was most often an event or series of events that led to their homelessness. And once homeless, they often become trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty.

If you'd like to learn more about the PIT count, click the links below

Are there other myths that you hear often and would like info on how to bust them?

Email us at info@wingsadvocacy.org and let us know!

FULL PIT REPORT

PIT SUMMARY