Homelessness affects every individual differently, and everyone affected finds themself at risk for different reasons. At The Midnight Mission, we seek to provide resources, life-changing access to education and job readiness programs, shelter, and food to people experiencing homelessness across the greater Los Angeles area, and you can help. Men, women, children, and families experiencing homelessness face many challenges, but women are far more vulnerable to a few specific dangers and difficulties than other demographics.
Women facing homelessness who are desperate to survive may be suffering from addiction or have children depending on them. They may find themselves turning to prostitution as a means of income. The major health risk of prostitution is premature death, followed by exposure to STIs and the threat of physical, monetary, and emotional abuse.
Unlike men, women living on the street are at a far greater risk of experiencing sexual violence, rape, and exploitation. Women report sexual harassment and assault in public restrooms, showers, and even in homeless shelters. Unfortunately, many women who suffer abuse do not feel safe and secure enough to file a report and therefore receive little to no support, medical care, and therapy for their trauma.
Many women will first experience homelessness when they are forced to free from an abusive relationship. Sometimes with children in tow, these women flee violence inside the home, only to contend with the threat of violence outside.
Menstruation and Hygiene
Feminine hygiene products are ridiculously expensive, with a box of pads or tampons costing between $5 and $10. Shelters rarely provide these necessary supplies, and women experiencing homelessness may be forced to choose between purchasing sanitary napkins to stay clean and comfortable and buying a meal.
Pregnancy and Reproductive Risks
Women experiencing homelessness have limited or no access to contraceptives and family planning services. Coupled with their increased exposure to sexual assault and rape, these women suffer unplanned and medically unsupported pregnancies far more often than women in the general population. The risk of complications during pregnancy and birth is increased.
Get Involved with The Midnight Mission
There are many ways to support the Midnight Mission in our effort to provide support and hope for individuals and families struggling to break the relentless and devastating cycle of homelessness. Volunteer with us and serve the community directly, give clothing and supplies, or make a monetary donation. We believe that the best way to offer support is by providing immediate emergency aid, mental health resources, and job readiness programs. Read our success stories to see why.