There is grief, everywhere. In a time when COVID brings such a feeling of loss, news reports and social media are full of death. Presumably, these appear because people read them, looking for some solidarity during a pandemic that is causing so much pain.

In recent days, three stories among the many stories of grief that have received national attention were about killings committed by people who were characterized as homeless or “appearing to be homeless.” Stories about “dangerous homeless people” and particularly “dangerous dark-skinned homeless people” are always part of this work, and there are three things I want to say about this.

First, I’m sad for the friends and family of the women who died in these terrible crimes. These women didn’t deserve to die this way.

Second, it’s wrong for these tragedies to be sensationalized by villainizing people who are homeless. People living on the streets without a home are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than they are to commit such crimes. From the findings in the first national survey on homeless people in the mid-1990s, to local reports from all over the country about homeless people being senselessly murdered and even targeted by serial killers, it’s one of the many things that makes homelessness so dangerous for the people experiencing it. While suffering in plain sight, and making many housed people feel uncomfortable, the vast majority of homeless people, including people with mental illness, aren’t hurting anyone.

Read the full article about homelessness and violence by Steve Berg at National Alliance to End Homelessness.