Perceptions and Attitudes
Often when thinking about homelessness, the stereotype image that comes to mind is that of someone sleeping rough. This is certainly one aspect of homelessness but it is the minority experience. Homelessness also includes: people using supported accommodation such as crisis accommodation (provided by agencies like Launch Housing); people staying temporarily with other households; people living in boarding houses and other temporary lodgings; and, people living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings.
Perceptions and attitudes matter because they powerfully shape our judgments about homelessness, the way we treat people who experience homelessness and the extent to which we support particular public policy responses.
Dispelling stereotypes and shifting broader perceptions about homelessness are vital in influencing public policy and encouraging effective legislative change to ultimately end homelessness.
Public Perceptions of homelessness – a literature review
This paper presents findings from a review of the literature on public opinion and attitudes to homelessness in Australia, the U.S. Canada and Europe (including the U.K.). It examines the public’s beliefs about the causes of homelessness, who experiences homelessness, who is responsible for addressing homelessness and willingness to take action on homelessness.
Attitudes to homelessness in Australia
There has been very little research to date investigating attitudes to homelessness in Australia. Such research is important as public opinion can influence both political will to act and the viability of different policy responses. Attitudes also shape the way the community responds to those who are disadvantaged.