All women have struggles, but homeless women face uniquely difficult circumstances.
Women and families are said to be the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, with many being Black families. The reality is that many of the women who are homeless have experienced hardships due to their lack of education, and the chance for upward mobility, plus the very real issues of domestic violence and/or exposure to violence in general. Statistics show that about “92% of homeless mothers have been victims of physical or sexual assault.”
The causes of homelessness in women are diverse, but regardless of the reasons, the ways in which you can assist are consistent.
Assist a local homeless shelter
This interactive map will show you the homeless shelters near you. Consider volunteering time, money, or other resources to these shelters, especially as the holidays (and a cold winter) come around. You can also search for domestic violence shelters specifically. 1 out of every 4 homeless women is on the streets due to domestic violence.
Menstrual products can be expensive even for non-homeless women, rendering them almost completely inaccessible to those who are. Use the map above to find shelters near you, and pick up an extra box of pads or tampons to donate next time you’re at the drugstore. You can also donate new or clean, gently used bras, and new underwear.
Donate to job training programs
Coalition for the Homeless provides a job training program geared specifically toward homeless and low-income women. If you are unable to contribute financially to this organization, you can also volunteer your time as a mentor, a guest speaker, or an interviewer. The organization also accepts donations of professional clothing for the women to wear once they land job interviews.
Become an advocate
Low-income housing options are becoming less and less available; as are options for affordable childcare. Lobby for increases in low-income housing and shelters, as well as childcare programs provided by schools, hospitals, and community centers.
Identify female-specific shelters
This website allows you to find homeless shelters, transitional housing, and mental health/addiction treatment centers, specifically for women, in your area. Womenshelters.org makes it easy to find shelters for women facing more specific issues, such as addiction, domestic violence, physical and mental health problems, lack of childcare, lack of food, and unemployment. Once you find them, figure out what their needs are and the specific ways you can assist.
These are just a few of the many ways that you can help homeless women and families in your area. The stigma and discrimination against homeless women is incredibly dangerous, but your contributions can help relieve some of the difficulties in these women’s lives. To learn more about how to help homeless women, check out the articles below as well.