The intersection between domestic violence and homelessness is indisputable. More than 80% of mothers and children experiencing homelessness cite domestic violence as the leading cause to their homelessness. Until policy responses and services address domestic violence and trauma, these women and children will remain cyclical users of emergency services and become susceptible to chronic homelessness. Additional trauma informed, affordable transitional housing options and resources with supportive services; a centralized information management and reporting systems and data-base for domestic violence; continued education for front-line workers and administrative staff on trauma-informed responses to and prevention of domestic violence; and a broad based community awareness campaign are all measures that can be taken to help minimize domestic violence and its link to homelessness. To develop a deeper understanding of the most pressing gaps & needs faced by domestic violence victims and recommendations to address these gaps & needs, please visit https://lotushouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Domestic-Violence-Gaps-and-Needs-Report-5.9.20-Final.pdf
CITATION: “Gaps and Needs Workgroup of the Miami-Dade County Domestic Violence Oversight Board.” Lotus House . Domestic Violence Oversight Board, May 2020. https://lotushouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Domestic-Violence-Gaps-and-Needs-Report-5.9.20-Final.pdf.
Domestic violence is the primary cause of homelessness for women (individual and parenting) across the United States. Women who are survivors of domestic violence are oftentimes forced to escape their homes with little to no family or friends to rely on. In addition, women in poverty – who are already more vulnerable to experiencing homelessness – are exposed to higher rates of domestic violence than women of higher socio-economic status. Policies like “zero tolerance for crime” adopted by landlords, housing instability, and the lack of safe and affordable housing are all contributors to the increasing number of women experiencing homelessness as a result of domestic violence. Please visit the site below to learn more about the irrefutable connection between domestic violence and homelessness and how to end the cycle violence leading women and children into homelessness. https://www.aclu.org/other/domestic-violence-and-homelessness
CITATION: “Domestic Violence and Homelessness.” American Civil Liberties Union. Accessed June 11, 2021. https://www.aclu.org/other/domestic-violence-and-homelessness.
Traditional responses to homelessness, in both policy and practice, fail to recognize the inequities faced by women. Because homelessness has traditionally been defined as a gender neutral housing crisis issue, the provision of social, health and welfare services reflects this premise by continuing to place the specific needs of women in the rear. Women’s vulnerabilities and circumstances vary their pathways in and out of homelessness. Their experience with homelessness is continuously influenced by childhood abuse/violence, intimate partner violence, poverty and motherhood (among many other things) and yet gender specific considerations are practically absent in homeless policy formation. The only way to properly address and meet the complex needs of women is to use a gender sensitive approach in policy formation and service provision, which truly acknowledges their inequities. To read more about the importance of developing solutions and gender-sensitive policy responses to homelessness, visit https://housingfirsteurope.eu/assets/files/2017/07/Gendering-Womens-Homelessness.pdf
CITATION: Savage, Méabh (2016) “Gendering Women’s Homelessness,” Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies: Vol. 16: Iss. 2, Article 4. Available at: http://arrow.dit.ie/ijass/vol16/iss2/4.
Policies that place limitations on transgender rights lay the groundwork for discrmination and gender inequality. Homelessness among the transgender community is perpetuated when these polcies directly exclude them from basic necessities, like a place to live. Despite Supreme Court rulings and federal protections against sex discrimination applicable to gay, bisexual and transgender people, government leaders still continue to advance policies that overly burden and target the transgender community. For example, in 2020 the Trump Administration published a rule allowing single-sex homeless shelters to exclude transgender people from facilities that correspond with gender identity. This ruling promotes discriminatory practices against the transgender homeless community, consequently forcing them to live on the street or in homeless shelters where they are susceptible to assault and harassment. The government’s effort to undermine protections and safety nets put in place for the transgender community further contributes to targeted attacks and gender inequality. To learn more about this policy and how it contributes to gender inequality, visit https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/24/us/politics/trump-transgender-rights-homeless.html.
CITATION: Cameron, C. (2020, July 24). Trump Presses Limits on Transgender Rights Over Supreme Court Ruling. The New York Times.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/24/us/politics/trump-transgender-rights-homeless.html.
Women and girls are vulnerable to homelessness and housing insecurity due to factors like domestic violence, human trafficking, lack of access to high-wage occupations, and lack of childcare. The government’s response to COVID-19, like quarantines and mandatory lockdowns, has intensified gender inequality disproportionately impacting women and girls. During the pandemic, there has been a surge in the number of domestic violence cases. Economic insecurity, a lack of resources, and government policies (ie. mandatory lockdowns) without gender based protections have left women and girls with little to no option, forcing them to return to their abusers. When responding to a public crisis, the government must put the safety of women and girls to the forefront. Gender sensitive policies incorporated into preparedness and response efforts can mean the difference between life and death for women and girls who are exposed to gender based violence. To learn more about the intersection between gender and the linkages to homelessness, visit https://giwps.georgetown.edu/at-the-intersection-of-vulnerabilities-women-and-girls-experiencing-homelessness-during-the-global-coronavirus-pandemic/
CITATION: At the Intersection of Vulnerabilities: The Plight of Women and Girls Experiencing Homelessness During the Global Coronavirus Pandemic. Georgetown Institute of Women Peace and Security. (n.d.). https://giwps.georgetown.edu/at-the-intersection-of-vulnerabilities-women-and-girls-experiencing-homelessness-during-the-global-coronavirus-pandemic/.