Prayer| Domestic Violence | Major Factor Contributing to Homelessness Among The Female Population
We have a solution to the homeless crisis.
Some of the major factors of homelessness among American women include domestic violence, of which women are the overwhelming victims, poverty, lack of access to healthcare and family planning, and the role of women as the primary caregivers of children. These factors contribute to the income and housing implications and inequalities that ensue, divorce, a decline of the welfare state, and the lack of affordable housing. Additionally, the poor mental and hygienic health of women is both a precursor and consequence of homelessness among the female population.
Domestic violence is a major factor contributing to homelessness among the female population. Homeless women are more likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse and/or foster care and adult partner abuse than the average female population. Nationally, twenty to fifty percent of all homeless women and children become homeless as a direct result of escaping domestic violence.
Of the research done on homelessness in the United States, male veterans make up a large percentage of the homeless population (25%–40%). Female veterans make up a very low percentage of the homeless population and so they are typically not included in the literature. Of the studies that were done with male and female veterans in mind, it was found that female veterans were younger, often unemployed, and had a higher rate of having a mental illness.
Transitional housing for domestic violence victims
Women who have left an abusive relationship can go to a domestic violence shelter designated for battered women only for thirty days. They will receive psychological help and support groups at a confidential location, making it difficult for their abusers to reach them. However, after the thirty days end, they will be asked to leave and have to move to a homeless shelter where the stay there is again restricted, varying from three to six months.
A motel-style shelter is an option for immediate temporary shelter when other shelters are full. Domestic violence service providers work with motels to provide shelter to referred individuals. However, these motels do not provide the emergency services that most domestic shelters provide, and can also be easily accessible to the women's abusers.
Interference with employment
Women affected by domestic violence try to find housing separate from their abusers yet are unable to due to economic barriers such as the inability of keeping their jobs or limited job experience, leading to homelessness. Primarily, the women’s abusers come to their workplace to either stalk or harass them, ultimately sabotaging their way of earning money. In a study conducted with a sample of women with abusive partners, the results showed that roughly 50% of them that were working at the time lost their job due to their abusive partner.
Women and poverty
Homeless families make up one-third of the homeless population in America, with single-mother families being the highest subcategory. Among homeless women, there is an overrepresentation of adults with the sole responsibility of the care of dependent children and inadequate financial resources. Women, especially single-parent family mothers, are more likely to live in poverty when they have children and have to balance earning money while raising and caring for their children. Children with a single mother are five times more likely to be in poverty than children with two parents and about three-fourths of children with a single mother are homeless.
There is also an important distinction between unsheltered homeless women and sheltered homeless women. Non-sheltered homeless women have a 35.5% rate of sexual victimization and 56.8% physical victimization, numbers significantly higher than the population of sheltered homeless women. Homeless women often feel victimized by the authorities for two main reasons. The majority of homeless women's reports lead nowhere and homeless women are often afraid to contact law enforcement when experiencing sexual assault because of the "illegal activities" or "hustles" that they might be caught in. Thus, victimized women who experience homelessness are often unreported, unprotected, and left in a cycle of crime.
Health and healthcare
The odds of someone becoming homeless within a year are roughly 1 in 194, which, considering the total population of the United States, is a pretty large chance. Homeless women are one of the most rapidly growing groups in the homeless community. In the 1960s, homeless women totaled around 3% of the entire homeless population, however, as of 2016, they comprised nearly 40% While all homeless people are at increased risk of poor health outcomes, homeless women especially are less likely to benefit from routine medical assistance, health insurance, cancer screening, adequate prenatal care, appropriate ambulatory care, and specialty care. Homeless women also face health challenges such as hypertension, arthritis, mental illness, substance abuse, victimization, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) like tuberculosis, HIV and are most common in the homeless population.
Outreach Support on the Streets
Serving the homeless outdoors -- where many of them are -- is a way to help feed those in need during times when they cannot get a hot meal at a soup kitchen or long-term shelter. Every other Saturday afternoon, in Central Texas and downtown Austin, Buttafleye Outreach Ministry leads a volunteer crew in preparing and serving a hot lunch to 275+ of our friends on the street. We don’t judge or criticize the reality of those less fortunate- we just feed the sheep (people). That attitude over the past years has produced tremendous returns for both our volunteers and the people we serve. And we invite you to serve with us.