Living in Tampa, it is hard to miss the homeless people with signs on the corners of every street begging for help or money. The number of hungry and homeless people in Hillsborough County has increased tremendously over the past couple of years due to the failing economy. The National Alliance to End Homelessness conducted a census in 2009 concluding there were around 55,599 homeless people in the state of Florida (2). That puts Florida as the state with the third highest homeless population, only after California and New York. A biennial survey that was done in 2009 by the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County tallied the number of homeless people at 9,566 (1). This means that about 1 in every 6, or 17.2 percent of the homeless people in Florida live in Hillsborough County. Homelessness is increasing as well. From 2008 to 2009, homelessness increased by 11 percent in Florida (2).
As homelessness increases, the stereotypes and prejudices increase as well. However these stereotypes are not typically true. It is the stereotype that everyone on the streets has a history of drug and alcohol addiction and brought the situation upon themselves. However of the 9,566 homeless people in Hillsborough County:
23% are children
81 % are NOT involved with drugs or alcohol
63 % do NOT have a mental illness, and only
03 % has the HIV/AIDS virus (3).