Why Homelessness Is Harder for Women

The myth that laziness is the direct cause of homelessness is not only insulting, but it also perpetuates people’s ignorance of the real problems associated with being homeless, and further isolates people who find themselves in that situation. Outsiders are much less likely to be kind or even empathize with homeless people when they can just “blame the victim” without knowing their story.

The fact is, a lack of work motivation is rarely the cause of homelessness. The true culprits: Unforeseeable life circumstances, mental illness and trauma.

There are many misconceptions about homelessness. For starters, there is no such thing as “a homeless person,” as this implies that someone is permanently homeless, and equates their status with the person’s being. In fact, homeless doesn’t refer to a type of person but, rather, to an unfortunate and usually unpredictable event in some people’s lives.

Homelessness is also deeply individualistic. For example, women who face the challenges of homelessness have to deal with additional factors when they find themselves without a place to live. Here are some of those specific causes, challenges and ways to help women who face homelessness.

Trauma and Domestic Abuse

Studies have found that in cases of homelessness for women and children, 80 percent of them involved past domestic violence. In such situations, a woman might not have any other option than to leave everything behind for her safety. This often results in the financial burden of finding a new place to live. If she didn’t have a steady income before, and if she doesn’t have family to stay with, she can end up living on the street.

In fact, in an article by Healthline about homelessness and trauma, Dr. Barry Zevin says the following about how trauma affects the majority, if not all, homeless people:

“Violence and victimization are a daily reality to most homeless people I see. If I had to say one unifying theme of practically everyone I see it’s this idea of having been…

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