Homeless Services are Failing Women
Women make up 26% of people who accessed homelessness services in 2013, which in real numbers is around 10,000 people. At the sharpest end of homelessness, 786 women were recorded sleeping rough in London last year. There are no figures on the number of women sleeping rough nationally but the overall number of people recorded sleeping rough has risen by 37% since 2010.
The true number is likely to be much higher. Women may be sleeping on a friend's sofa or, worse, trapped in abusive relationships because they have nowhere to go but do not want to become homeless (half of homelessness charity St Mungo's female clients have experienced domestic violence). Homeless women have many complicated, interrelated problems contributing to their homelessness, which are often rooted in trauma due to violence and abuse in childhood and then adulthood.
Homeless services are predominantly developed by and for men, because they make up the majority of clients. The women we work with often enter services at a much later stage than men, and when their problems have become more severe and enduring. As it stands, 70% of the women we work with have mental health needs, compared with 57% of male clients. The impact of this is that women are less emotionally or psychologically ready to start tackling some incredibly complicated issues and moving on with their lives. Alexia Murphy. The Guardian
Homelessness is a catalyst for and can be a result of the growth of sex trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Women and children who have been in foster care, living from relative to relative, sleeping here and there and then showing up for school are considered homeless.
The lack of balance in jobs, wages and earnings in the USA, lack of affordable health care and rising rental and real estate prices pushes what might have been an average wage worker into poverty and homelessness.