Watch homeless people shatter stereotypes about those who live on the street.

There are a few negative stereotypes that are often, and erroneously, associated with people who are homeless.

These stereotypes aren't always accurate — and sometimes are even rarely so — and, unsurprisingly, do further harm to the very people most in need of a hand up.

So why do we keep telling ourselves these blanket overgeneralizations can be trusted?



All GIFs via BuzzFeed Video.

BuzzFeed Video hit the streets to chat with real homeless people and get to the bottom of all these terrible stigmas. And, as it turns out, you can learn a lot by actually talking with people instead of trusting what's been said about them.

Here are five myths about homeless people, debunked by real homeless people.

Myth #1: Homeless people are lazy. Plain and simple.

If you think homelessness is innately connected with laziness, you shouldn't. There are plenty of hardworking folks who can't find permanent shelter, possibly due to a lack of affordable housing in their area or maybe because they're working a job that pays a stubbornly low and stagnant wage.

In fact, the National Coalition for the Homeless estimated back in 2009 that roughly 44% of homeless people (nearly half!) do have jobs.

Myth #2: Homeless people have all made terrible decisions that led them to be homeless.

Speaking of 44%, it's also the portion of Americans who, in 2013, didn't have enough financial security to survive past three months if they lost their job, according to the Corporation for Economic Development.

That's about 132 million people in the U.S. living a few paychecks away from having (essentially) nothing. Almost half of America would be in dire circumstances if they got, say, laid off or injured in a natural disaster. So when you hear "anybody can be homeless," it's really not that far-fetched.

Myth #3: Every homeless person has a drug problem.

Yes, homeless people are more likely than non-homeless people to abuse alcohol and drugs. But, as is the case with any stereotype, you shouldn't immediately jump to any conclusions. According to estimates taken in 2003 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only about 38% of homeless people were dependent on alcohol, and about a quarter of homeless people abused other drugs.

So when you assume that that person on the sidewalk just wants your cash for booze, well you're making an a-s-s out of you and ... you get the drift.

Myth #4: All homeless people are criminals. (Watch out!)

Don't believe the hype. Crime and homelessness don't go hand in hand. There's no shortage of research that's found homeless people are actually less likely than housed people to commit violent crimes.

And due to nationwide increases in local ordinances that target homeless people — like bans on sleeping in public or panhandling in certain spots — many times, the crimes homeless people commit are due to their circumstances, not because they're naturally more dangerous.

Myth #5: Homeless people just want your money. That's it.


Just like many of us appreciate a friendly hello from a stranger, so do homeless people (and maybe even more so). Even if you can't spare some change, a smile and a nod might make someone's day.

The folks in BuzzFeed's video said, "I'm homeless, but I'm still a human being." Let's all keep that in mind during our next stroll down the street.

Check out the video by BuzzFeed below:

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."