Systemic Causes in Homelessness Reporting

  • Social Change

Systemic Causes in Homelessness Reporting

This insightful resource explores how media narratives often misrepresent homelessness by attributing it to individual failings like drug use, mental illness, crime, or poor work ethic. Such portrayals overlook critical systemic issues, including the lack of affordable housing and inadequate social support systems. By simplifying homelessness to personal problems, media coverage can stigmatize individuals and hinder comprehensive understanding and policy development.

Research by Mary Ellen Glover reveals how these stereotypes often exclude diverse groups, like households led by single women, who are among the fastest-growing populations in shelters.

A typical portrayal is reflected in statements like, “Some are addicted to drugs or alcohol, most have some kind of mental or emotional problems, and a lot of them smoke, making it hard to find affordable housing…. they’re undesirable tenants.” This view oversimplifies the problem, focusing on personal attributes instead of the broader societal issues that drive homelessness.

This resource advocates for a transformative shift in media focus to emphasize the structural complexities behind homelessness, promoting narratives that foster a deeper societal understanding and advocate for systemic change.