Recognizing World Homeless Day

At The Little Market, our mission is dedicated to supporting dignified income opportunities for individuals in underserved communities all over the world. A core part of our mission is to raise awareness for human rights and social justice issues. Here on Cultural Exchange, we share avenues through which our readers can use their voices and actions to help others. On Oct. 10, we are recognizing World Homeless Day.

World Homeless Day was first observed in October 2010 as an effort to raise awareness and advocate for a solution to end homelessness around the world. Keep reading to learn more about this important day. 

According to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress:

  • On a single night in 2018, roughly 553,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. 
  • Two in three people experiencing homelessness (67 percent) were adults in households without children. The remaining 33 percent of people experiencing homelessness did so as part of a family.
  • Half of all people experiencing homelessness were in one of five states: California (24 percent or 129,972 people); New York (17 percent or 91,897 people); Florida (6 percent or 31,030 people); Texas (5 percent or 25,310 people); or Washington (4 percent or 22,304 people). 
  • 60 percent of people experiencing homelessness were men or boys, and 39 percent were women or girls. Less than one percent were either transgender or gender non-conforming. 
  • Three percent more women experienced homelessness as individuals in 2018 than in 2017. 

FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH HOMELESSNESS

Multiple factors contribute to each individual’s experience with homelessness, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

  • Housing + Income Affordability: Wages have remained stagnant since the 1970s while housing prices have significantly increased since the 1980s. Low-income populations spend about half of their income on housing, which places them at risk of homelessness.
  • Health: In 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that 20 percent of individuals experiencing homelessness have a serious mental illness, 16 percent have experienced chronic substance abuse, and more than 10,000 people had HIV/AIDS. 
  • Domestic Violence: As reported by the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, women typically become homeless when forced to flee their homes where they faced domestic abuse. Women fall vulnerable to eviction under “nuisance property” ordinance, according to The New York Times
  • Racial Inequality: A long history of racial discrimination and inequality has caused disparities such as poverty, housing, criminal justice, and health care. African-American households are more likely to face poverty and/or homelessness than their White counterparts. 
  • Transgender + Non-binary Discrimination: Transgender or non-binary people will either lose their job or experience job bias, according to the data found by a report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. This results in homelessness, living under the poverty line, seeking underground employment, and declining health. Transwomen of color are the most vulnerable, as they are the highest at the risk of poverty, homelessness, discrimination, racism, transphobia, and other hate-related acts.

Women and Homelessness

According to the Downtown Women’s Center:

  • Currently, 17,482 women are experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles, a 14 percent increase over the past year.
  • There was an increase of 28 percent of victims of domestic and intimate partner violence who are experiencing homelessness; more than half of the population are women. 
  • The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority reported in 2019, the female homeless population in Los Angeles is 31 percent and about 2 percent identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming. 

Challenges for Women Experiencing Homelessness

  • Menstruation: According to Homeless Hub, access to feminine hygiene products is limited, causing women to choose between purchasing a meal or feminine hygiene products. Women are forced to utilize unsanitary alternatives such as toilet paper from public restrooms or T-shirts. 
  • Vulnerability and Sexual Abuse: Women who face homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless are affected by sexual or domestic violence. About 92 percent of women experiencing homelessness also experience physical and/or sexual violence. Women are forced to compromise their health and safety for a sheltered space to sleep. 
  • Transgender + Non-binary Discrimination: Finding housing is challenging for a reported 19 percent transgender or non-binary people because of gender identity or because they have been refused housing. Then led to face the hardship in finding safe shelter, a reported 55% of transgender women may be denied access to resources and shelter an/or even experience harassment by staff or other shelter residents. 

Downtown Women’s Center x The Little Market

Finding a solution by providing essential services for women experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. 

The Downtown Women’s Center was founded in 1978 by Jill Halverson to serve and empower women through housing, wellness, employment, and advocacy. DWC focuses on serving women who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness by providing services such as a free clinic and education center. Women can stop by the drop-in center to have a safe and secure place to stay during the day. The center provides free services for women who seek medical attention, a meal, a shower, and a place to rest. As part of the health and wellness program, DWC offers three meals a day to local women. 

We work with the social enterprise, MADE by DWC, that serves and empowers women experiencing homelessness and helps them rise above poverty. DWC’s product design and development workshops provide women with social and vocational skills in an empowering environment where they can rebuild their self-esteem, discover talents, and develop skills. 

DWC works with program participants to hand-pour our soaps in small batchesSupport DWC through the purchase of their goods or volunteer opportunities. 

Coffee + Conversation with DWC

Please mark your calendars for the next event, coming up on Thursday, Oct. 10 with Downtown Women’s Center. Learn more about the incredible organization and our partnership by joining us in the Palisades Village. RSVP here

For all upcoming events, stay tuned to our Instagram and website for more details and right here on Cultural Exchange for behind-the-scenes looks. 

If you would like to learn more, volunteer, or are in need of aid, we encourage you to seek information from your local nonprofits, organizations, and/or shelters.

Sources
“The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress.” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Office of Community Planning and Development. Web. Dec. 2018. 
“Domestic Violence and Homelessness.” American Civil Liberties Union Foundation. Women’s Rights Project. Web.
“2019 Homeless Count.” Downtown Women’s Center. Web. 2019.
“Four Unique Challenges of Women Experiencing Homelessness.” Homeless Hub. Web. 7 March 2018. 
“What Causes Homelessness?” National Alliance to End Homelessness. Web.
“Victims’ Dilemma: 911 Calls Can Bring Eviction.” New York Times. 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 
“Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.” The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. 2011. Web.

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