They are moms, daughters, sisters, and wives, and we’re seeing an increasing number of them on the streets. Homeless women in LA now make up 30% of the 2,000 people who sleep in homeless shelters or on Skid Row every night. Here, we look at three ways we can all make a difference for this growing population.
At the most basic level, it’s imperative to hear – to listen, be aware, and be informed about the situation. Sources indicate the number of homeless women has surged to nearly 18,000 of the overall homeless population in LA County, a 16% increase over last year. We must recognize that, while homelessness for both genders often stems from trauma, many women are dealing with trauma specific to females: domestic violence, prostitution, and trafficking. These factors can lead to substance abuse and mental illness, further exasperating homelessness. Understanding these issues can help us all be more aware of the growing population of homeless women in LA and just what they are going through.
Another thing we can do is take any opportunity to volunteer, support organizations that serve the homeless, and advocate for legislation that changes the landscape of homelessness. This can take on different forms for everybody, and not everyone has to do everything. What’s important is that we all do something.
One way to take action is to support the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission. The Center provides a 12-month intensive Rehabilitation Program in which women are given shelter, meals, and clothing. At the same time, they are taught job skills and life skills, and they learn responsibility and accountability to regain their independence.
Finally, we can instill hope in homeless women that there are ways to overcome trauma and transform their lives. There are programs like Palmer Center Micro-Enterprise at Pepperdine University that is providing training to Los Angeles Mission students on financial management and business planning. We can remind women that there are many other programs, resources, and services like Pepperdine’s throughout LA that are creating new pathways. We can provide the sense of hope that these women have often lost. Hope costs nothing, but it can be the difference maker for women who are on the street, recovering from abuse and trauma, and feel like no one cares.
Homelessness is an issue that affects us all, so everyone can do their own part to end the providing hope when all is lost can go far in changing the future of our homeless moms, daughters, sisters, and wives.
Steve Pomeroy is the founder of Big Change Advisors, a Los Angeles M&A advisory firm of business advisors and capital sourcing advisors for startups and middle-market companies. Since 1992, Steve has completed over 38 transactions including M&A, Capital Sourcing, and Public Offerings representing over $800 million in total transaction value. Through Big Change Advisors, Steve donates a percentage of all fees – or invites clients to donate a portion of Big Change Advisors fees – to help serve the homeless through the Los Angeles Mission. To request a free consultant, contact Steve here.