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bad decisions, teenage pregnancy and substance abuse. But the latest economic recession caused many well off single women and single mothers to loose their support and savings, thus forcing them into various homeless shelters in cities and towns across America.
Most of the women who become homeless, find themselves in this situation due to financial losses, job loss or medical problems. Many also suffer from substance abuse and cannot afford to pay their rent. Though Estimates do not see the number of homeless women outnumbering homeless men, it is quite an alarming situation regardless, and has caused many homeless shelters to make arrangements in order to provide enough beds for these women. The funding needed for homelessness is being reduced at an alarming rate. The homeless population does not get the help it needs, and as the economy worsens, the available funds of these homeless women and the social services that are needed are being stretched beyond reason.
In some cities the number of homeless women has been estimated at 30 percent of the homeless population. Most of these homeless women are below the age of 25 and living on the streets due to teenage pregnancies, bad decisions or substance abuse. But while the number of pregnant women is increasing, no one can get an accurate count because pregnancy has never been a factor that is recorded in the census of the homeless population.
Some of the homeless women are foster children who, once out of the care of the government, have no idea how to support themselves as an independent adults and find themselves in homeless shelters. Most of the homeless women among the 43 percent are adults who are no longer eligible for welfare, including food stamps after the 1996 welfare reform act. The 1996 welfare reforms left many women homeless and requiring food assistance as the welfare measures became time bound.
Some of the homeless women also end up in a homeless shelter or on the streets to escape domestic abuse. Many of the homeless mothers are also afraid to seek help fearing that the state might take their children away from them. For such homeless women with children, providing accommodation requires more resources, as most of them do not have any meaningful education and hence cannot find suitable jobs. On the other hand uneducated homeless men face no such problems as they get hired as manual labor at such places as construction sites.
Though homeless women are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, they are not as visible as men because they prefer to double up with friends, family and relatives before approaching the homeless shelters for a place to stay. But the recent $1.5 billion released as funds to provide more homeless shelters and affordable housing units is a ray of hope.
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Facts you should know
Up to 2 Million People Are Homeless At Any Given Time
44 Percent Of The Homeless Are Single Men - Single Women Make Up 13 Percent - Families With Children Are 36 Percent - Unaccompanied Minors Account For 7 Percent.
50 Percent Of The Homeless Are African-American, 35 Percent Are White, 12 Percent Are Hispanic, 2 Percent Are Native American And 1 Percent Is Asian.
The Average Income For A Homeless Individual Was $348 During The Last 30 Days, That's About 51 Percent Of The 1996 Federal Poverty Level of $680/Month For One Person.
44 Percent Did Paid Work During The Past Month.
7 Percent Of The Homeless Population Have Been Sexually Assaulted.
3.5 Million People (1.35 Million Of Which Are Children) Will Experience Homelessness In A Given Year.
Children Under The Age Of 18 Account For 39% Of The Homeless Population. 42% Of These Are Under The Age Of 5.
22% Of Homeless Women Claim Domestic Abuse As Reason For Their Homelessness.
Facts gathered from grabstats.com