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Homelessness is on the rise with women and the reason may surprise you. #Abuse #Homelessness

By Joy A. Kennelly

Over the past few months I have read numerous female biographies which were fascinating in their diversity, but each held a common thread.

Abuse - Financial, Sexual, and Physical.

Which is why when all the allegations of sexual abuse came to light in Hollywood I wasn't surprised at how prevalent it was. I will admit I've been shocked at how much it is in every industry though - media, sports, tech, entertainment, etc.

I also read Every Day Sexism a year or so ago and discovered it's not just happening in America, it's a global epidemic. 

Download (1)"The Everyday Sexism project aims to take a step towards gender equality, by proving wrong those who tell women that they can’t complain because we are equal. It is a place to record stories of sexism faced on a daily basis, by ordinary women, in ordinary places.

To show that sexism exists in abundance in the UK workplace and that it is very far from being a problem we no longer need to discuss. To provoke responses so numerous and wide-ranging that the problem becomes impossible to ignore. To report the way you have been treated, even if it has not been taken seriously elsewhere. To stand up and say ‘this isn’t right’, even if it isn’t big or outrageous or shocking. Even if you’ve got used to thinking that it is ‘just the way things are’."

Leave your story here: Everyday Sexism Project

I was curious about the story of Roxy Founder, Jill Dodd, which is why I agreed to receive and review the book from the publicist. I will admit, I judged Jill initially for using sex to achieve some of her goals, even though she wrote she was in love with her billionaire playboy arms dealer benefactor. If I was honest, I had to admit to myself I stayed with one boyfriend way longer than I should have because he took care of me, even though he abused me.

The-currency-of-love-9781501150371_hr “This page-turning memoir of decadence and faith will resonate with seekers everywhere." —Publishers Weekly

What struck me later, thinking back on the book was that her life was damaged because of her father's abuse and it affected her whole life. Yes, she became a famous model. Yes, she built a successful company. But at what cost?

It's a fascinating read which I highly recommend picking it up if you want to see the underbelly of the fashion world not normally written about.

I also read Stacey Dash's memoir, and read again how men, sex, and money all tied into her abusive life. It was at times shocking to read what she experienced because it was so far from my life experience. She has had to overcome so much! 

611MMk8w9NLAgain, another fascinating read.   

Homelessness - it's not mental illness that's the primary cause with women, but domestic violence or financial abuse, often brought on by a family member, or a relationship, or someone else. According to the LA Times (click for the full article) - Attacked, abused and often forgotten: Women now make up 1 in 3 homeless people in L.A. Count 

Recently, I met other homeless women in a shelter and almost every single one of them had stories of abuse at the hands of their parents, their significant other, or a stranger. It was hard to hear sometimes because it was so heavy. However, it also caused me to evaluate my life and realize there were commonalities even though I grew up middle class.

Domestic (family) violence doesn't respect race, income or education. It's a sickness that is currently getting the light of day it needs in order for men to realize this is an epidemic that needs addressing financially, physically and politically.

However, when you read that there's a slush fund in politics to protect men caught in sex scandals, it makes you wonder how much more it will take before this sickness will be eradicated, when the highest form of control - government - is complicit with causing and hiding it?

So, for those women who have been told by family members, and others,

"You deserved it."

"You caused it."

You don't and you didn't.

There is no excuse for a man to physically threaten a woman. 

There is no excuse for a man to financially threaten a woman's life and home security.

There is no excuse for a man to sexually threaten a woman.

Sorry, but there just isn't.

And if you think there is, you need your head examined.

Seriously.

I wish those in the South Bay who are in positions of power - ie Pastors, City Council Members, Government officials, and others would realize that domestic violence is everywhere and South Bay women need safe places other than Wilmington like the Doors of Hope Women's shelter.

"There are 180,000 homeless women in Los Angeles County.  Most of them are abused and broken after only one month of living on the streets.  Many never recover and are often forgotten by society.

Currently, there are three times as many animal shelters in Los Angeles County as there are shelters for homeless women.  Until our economy improves, our homeless population is expected to grow. The need for this type shelter is urgent." Doors of Hope
 
What I found fascinating is that one of the largest churches in the South Bay, Journey of Faith, had no on-site services or ministries for the homeless, just a referral link that is broken to other resources.
 
Is this an example of Not in My Backyard?
 
Or just not thinking of this as an issue since it's an upper-income/middle class church run by predominantly men? That's why women are needed in positions of authority - we see and know things many times men are clueless to simply by virtue of their gender. 
 
And what about Manhattan Beach City? When you click this link, it shows all the homeless shelters in surrounding cities, but none in this city: https://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Manhattan%20Beach&state=CA
 
Skechers is generous and supportive of homeless shelters and other charitable organizations. Perhaps others are too, but why isn't there a women's shelter in the South Bay ie Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance or Hermosa Beach?
 
Or do South Bay women never become homeless? Think again.
 
Men too. Obviously, but women are the sad secret statistics. 2016’s Shocking Homelessness Statistics 

"For many cities, solving homelessness is an ongoing challenge. So, what does homelessness look like in 2016? The following statistics are alarming:

  1. 564,708 people in the U.S. are homeless. According to a recent report, over half a million people were living on the streets, in cars, in homeless shelters, or in subsidized transitional housing during a one-night national survey last January. Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, 358,422 were individuals, and a quarter of the entire group were children.
  2. 83,170 individuals, or 15% of the homeless population, are considered “chronically homeless.” Chronic homelessness is defined as an individual who has a disability and has experienced homelessness for a year or longer, or and individual who has a disability and has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years (must be a cumulative of 12 months). Families with at least one adult member who meets that description are also considered chronically homeless.As the National Alliance to End Homelessness explains, “While people experiencing chronic homelessness make up a small number of the overall homeless population, they are among the most vulnerable. They tend to have high rates of behavioral health problems, including severe mental illness and substance use disorders; conditions that may be exacerbated by physical illness, injury, or trauma.”
  1. 47,725, or about 8% of the homeless population, are veterans. This represents a 35% decrease since 2009. Homeless veterans have served in several different conflicts from WWII to the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of veteran homelessness in the nation (145.8 homeless veterans per 10,000). 45% of homeless veterans are black or Hispanic. While less than 10% of homeless veterans are women, that number is rising.
  2. 1.4 million veterans are at risk of homelessness. This may be due to poverty, overcrowding in government housing, and lack of support networks. Research indicates that those who served in the late Vietnam and post-Vietnam era are at greatest risk of homelessness. War-related disabilities or disorders often contribute to veteran homelessness, including physical disabilities, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety, and addiction.
  3. 550,000 unaccompanied, single youth and young adults under the age of 24 experience a homelessness episode of longer than one week. Approximately 380,000 of that total are under the age of 18. Accurately counting homeless children and youth is particularly difficult. The National Alliance to End Homelessness explains, “Homeless youth are less likely to spend time in the same places as homeless people who are in an older age range. They are often less willing to disclose that they’re experiencing homelessness or may not even identify as homeless. They also may work harder to try to blend in with peers who aren’t homeless.”
  4. 110,000 LGBTQ youth in the U.S. are homeless. This is one of the most vulnerable homeless populations. A substantial number of young people who identify as LGBTQ say that they live in a community that is not accepting of LGBTQ people. In fact, LGBTQ youths make up 20% of runaway kids across the country. Family rejection, abuse, and neglect are major reasons LGBTQ youth end up on the streets. Additionally, homeless LGBTQ youth are substantially more likely than heterosexual homeless youth to be victims of sexual assault and abuse. LGBTQ homeless youth are twice as likely to commit suicide compared to heterosexual homeless youth.
  5. Fifty percent of the homeless population is over the age of 50. These individuals often face additional health and safety risks associated with age. They are more prone to injuries from falls, and may suffer from cognitive impairment, vision or hearing loss, major depression, and chronic conditions like diabetes and arthritis.
  6. 830,120 year-round beds are available in a range of housing projects. About half of those beds are dedicated to people currently experiencing homelessness. This includes
    • Emergency Shelters that provide temporary or nightly shelter beds to people experiencing homelessness.
    • Transitional Housing that provides homeless people with up to 24 months of housing and supportive services.
    • Safe Havens that provide temporary shelter and services to hard-to-serve individuals.

The other half of these beds are targeted at recently homeless populations. Rapid Rehousing provides short-term and medium-term rental assistance, housing relocation, and stabilization services to formerly homeless people experiencing homelessness. Permanent Supportive Housing provides long-term housing with supportive services for formerly homeless people with disabilities. Other Permanent Housing provides housing with or without services, but does not require people to have a disability."

 So, there ya have it. Will we change as a society? A community? A neighborhood? Or continue to accept this reality and sweep it under the rug because Not in My Backyard? 
 
I sincerely hope not. 

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