Public Perceptions of the Homeless And What Needs to be Done
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Public Perceptions of the Homeless And What Needs to be Done

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In July and August 2009, telephone interviewers from the UCF Institute of Social and Behavioral Sciences surveyed 483 adult residents of Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties to determine public ...

In July and August 2009, telephone interviewers from the UCF Institute of Social and Behavioral Sciences surveyed 483 adult residents of Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties to determine public perceptions of the homeless in Central Florida and opinions about regional agencies that serve this population. Funding for the survey was provided by the Heart of Florida United Way, the Central Florida Commission on the Homeless, the Homeless Services Network, and the UCF Institute for Social and Behavioral Sciences.

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Public Perceptions of the Homeless And What Needs to be Done Public Perceptions of the Homeless And What Needs to be Done Presentation Transcript

  • Public Perceptions of the Homeless and What Needs to be Done
    James D. Wright
    Amy M. Donley
    Jana L. Jasinski
  • Is Homelessness a Problem in Central Florida?
    A majority think homelessness is a major problem in Central Florida. And 90% said that nationally, the problem is getting worse.
  • Perceptions of the Homeless
    Percent who say this is definitely or probably true of homeless people
  • Changing Perceptions of the Homeless
    One in three says their opinion has changed
    Of those who changed, 95% have become more sympathetic
    Declining economy was the reason most people gave for becoming more sympathetic
    40% say they know personally someone who has been homeless
  • Panhandling
    48% say panhandling is a problem in our region
    42% say it is not
    58% believe most panhandlers are also homeless
    87% agree that most homeless panhandle at least occasionally
    46% say they never give to panhandlers; 29% give something at least once a month
    Of those who ever give, the median gift is about $2
  • What is to be done?
  • What is to be done (continued)
    Should municipal and county governments do more to fund homeless programs?
    Is enough being done to address the issue of homelessness in our community?
  • Conclusions
    Homelessness is a major problem, is getting worse, and not enough is being done
    Public perceptions of the homeless are generally sympathetic and improving over time, despite the negative coverage of the issue in the media
    Although panhandling is seen to be a problem and is associated in public thinking with homelessness, most people do give to panhandlers, although few do so more than a few times a year
    We see in these data a substantial public mandate to stop talking about the problem and start doing something about it!