Homelessness isn't easy to think about. Many homeless are considered lazy, unmotivated people who just don't try hard enough.
What is more accurate is that many homeless people are untreated mentally ill persons who are often discharged from treatment facilities before they are ready or capable to care for themselves. Others are addicts, jobless or victims of domestic violence.
A growing population amount the homeless are homeless women. There is something especially disconcerting about homeless women because so many nowadays have their children with them.
Women are at higher risk of being physically and sexually assaulted on the streets than their male counterparts. And that also puts their children at higher risk.
The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates that approximately 200,000 children do not have a permanent home, due to their parents homelessness - a shocking number, indeed. Some further statistics from them are:
- Homeless families comprise roughly 34% of
the total homeless population.
- Approximately 1.35 million children will
experience homelessness over the course of a
year. In any given day, researchers estimate
that more than 200,000 children have no
place to live.
- People counted in the single adult homeless
population (about 2.3-3.5 million annually5)
are also part of families.
- Among all homeless women, 60%
have children under age 18, but only
65% of them live with at least one of
- Among all homeless men, 41% have
children under age 18, but only 7%
live with at least one of their own children.
Many homeless children live in cars, shelters and abandoned housing with their mother and a sibling or two.
The current economic and housing crisis is seeing more and more women forced to leave their current housing and take to the streets, with their children in tow. Much of the time, it's their landlords who default on mortgages, leaving the tenants no choice (and very little notice) but to become homeless.
And many of these women will admit that bad choices, and often, bad childhoods, have lead them down the path towards homelessness. In addition to bad choices, they may be victims of domestic violence and flee the family home with their children, rather than return and risk imminent danger. They need education and resources to get back on track and into jobs and homes, so that chronic homelessness do not become a way or life for them, and particularly their children.
Shelters are inundated with clientele who require their immediate and funds are limited. But help is out there, and from many sources.
For more information about the homeless, how you can help or receive help, click here on any of the following here:
The Salvation Army
For a homeless shelter near you, click here:
For a Women's Shelter near you, click here:
Has homelessness affected you or someone you know?
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