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Together We Are Stronger

THE CRISIS OF HOMELESS WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN OUR NATION TODAY

The United States is experiencing one of the largest epidemics of homelessness in its history. With cities ranking globally in the top five most homeless populations, California and New York currently have the highest rates of people experiencing homelessness– reigning in at 26.7% and 16.3%, respectively. Many other cities in the richest country in the world are close behind. Why has homelessness become normative in our nation?

 

From placing the blame on ‘biological causes’ and fomenting misinformed ideologies to the defunding of affordable housing and ever shifting failed policies, our country and its leaders at all levels of government have both contributed and failed to resolve this nationwide public health epidemic. Equally tragic, women and children are now the two fastest growing populations to experience homelessness, in responses to homeleness have blamed the individual rather than focusing on systemic causes, a failed safety net, and gender based inequities. 

 

Annually, there are an estimated 1,129,307 million women experiencing homelessness in the United States. Even more vulnerable are the 2.5 million children experiencing homelessness, of which 51% are under the age of six. Compound stressors, such as adverse childhood experiences, neglect and abuse as well as gender based violence have perpetuated the increasing rates of homelessness experienced by women and children. Case in point, fifty-seven percent (57%) of all women experiencing homelessness report domestic violence as the immediate cause of their homelessness, thirty-five (35%) of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from their partners, or non-partner sexual violence; and six (6) women are killed every hour by men around the world.

 

Complacency surrounding gender-based violence and inequities, a dearth of resources and overall ignorance of the needs, complexities and personal challenges faced by women and children have all contributed to this homeless epidemic. Solutions will require looking deeply at systemic factors and dedicating the resources needed to heal, strengthen and uplift women and children. Those same solutions will be an engine of prosperity for us all and the promise of a brighter future.

Citations

District of Columbia Homelessness Statistics.” Homeless in District of Columbia Statistics 2018. Homeless Estimation by State | US Interagency Council on Homelessness. Accessed June 1, 2021. https://www.usich.gov/homelessness-statistics/dc.

 

“Health Care for Homeless Women.” ACOG. Accessed June 1, 2021. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2013/10/health-care-for-homeless-women#:~:text=three%20years%E2%80%9D%201.-,Statistics%20and%20Demographics,are%20headed%20by%20women%203. (citing The National Center on Family Homelessness. The characteristics and needs of families experiencing homelessness . Newton Centre (MA): NCFH; 2008. Available at:http://www.familyhomelessness.org/media/147.pdf. Retrieved May 29, 2013.)

 

 State of Homelessness: 2020 Edition. (2020, May 20). Retrieved February 08, 2021, from https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-2020/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA34OBBhCcARIsAG32uvPB9gF-94zMirySWNbwIq4rB6DsJzGF4ZO67alWvDpZDQShoLC8WUIaArnfEALw_wcB (stating that 3,255 made up the transgender population and 1,362 made up the gender non-conforming population); see also Number of people using domestic violence shelters by state. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2021, from https://www.domesticshelters.org/data-center/state-reports-and-rankings/people-using-domestic-violence-shelters-by-state.

 

US Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Child Homelessness: A Growing Crisis. SAMHSA: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/homelessness-programs-resources/hpr-resources/child-homelessness-growing-crisis.; see also National Center on Family Homelessness. American Institutes for Research. (2018, September 27). https://www.air.org/center/national-center-family-homelessness.

 

The State of America’s Children 2020 – Housing and Homelessness.” Children’s Defense Fund, February 18, 2020. https://www.childrensdefense.org/policy/resources/soac-2020-housing/.

 

“New Federal Policy Proposals Will Hurt Survivors of Domestic Violence.” National Alliance to End Homelessness, October 23, 2019 https://endhomelessness.org/new-federal-policy-proposals-will-hurt-survivors-of-domestic-violence/.

 

“Violence against Women and Girls Archives – Icrw: Passion. Proof. Power.” Accessed April 9, 2021. https://www.icrw.org/issues/violence-against-women/.

 

Written by Douglas Broom, Senior Writer. “As the UK Publishes Its First Census of Women Killed by Men, Here’s a Global Look at the Problem.” World Economic Forum. Accessed April 9, 2021. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/violence-against-women-femicide-census/.

 

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