Homeless Women

Posted: August 18, 2007 in Discrimination, Homelessness, Morality

In Byron’s Letters and Journals, English Poet Lord Byron wrote:

"There is something to me very softening in the presence of a woman, some strange influence, even if one is not in love with them…"

Although when talking about the homeless most people tend to visualize drunk, dirty men, the truth is that about 40% of America’s homeless are women with dependant children. That’s 4 out of every 10 homeless being either a woman or a child. To me that’s a sad reflection on out present day social mores.

These women become homeless due to domestic violence, divorce, failed relationships and the like. Women with children call also find themselves homeless due to dead beat dads – men who have fathered children but who for one reason or another do not take financial responsibility for their children. And, while Local, State and Federal government officials are trying to crack down on dead beat dads – these men manage to find a way around the system or simply don’t comply with court orders.

Among single women, homelessness can occur for a number of reasons, including physical, psychological or emotion disabilities – as well, as a result of loss of employment, etcetera.

While the numbers of single homeless women as small in comparison to men, nonetheless, the numbers have increased over the last five years or so. Most of them are within the 40 to 55 age group. These single women are at greater risk of physical harm and victimization than are the male homeless. Also, they are more likely to be looked down upon by society than are men who are homeless.

I have met some homeless women who, out of necessity, have had to panhandle. Not only are these women harassed by homeless men, but by so called "respectable" members of the community who see a homeless woman as an easy sexual conquest.

One homeless woman I know who was panhandling, had a "gentleman" come up to her, hand her a few dollars and told that he "knew" of a way she could make an easy $100 – if she were interested (with a wink). She walked away as fast as she could. She also told me later that she had noticed a wedding band on his left hand.

Other homeless women that I have spoken with have told me of having had similar experiences. Some have told me about non-homeless women who look upon them with contempt and treat them as low lifes or second class people; men who call them whores; and the list goes on.

Some homeless women find themselves becoming involved in "shelter romances." Although some of them are as a result of an actual attraction, many of them occur because the woman is afraid of being homeless alone and seeks some form of "male protection." Unfortunately, some of these relationships actually turn out worse than if these women had simply remained alone – and the woman finds herself abused and victimized by the "partner."

With the numbers of homeless on a continual increase, so will the number of women who experience homelessness increase as well.

How can we think so highly of ourselves but still think so little of those who need our help?


What's your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s