NEW: Crossroads RI Releases New Report on Women and Homelessness
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
"We are seeing the pace of homelessness for women and families in Rhode Island growing at an alarming rate," she said. "In a ten year period, the total number of unaccompanied men [in shelters] rose by 5% while the total number of unaccompanied women rose by 65%."
Nolan, who leads the largest provider of services to Rhode Islanders who are homeless, presented the agency's 10-page Report on Women and Homelessness, at the State House this afternoon. The event, an "Afternoon Tea," was led by four of Rhode Island’s political leaders and marks the month of March as Women Helping Women Month.
Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts; Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo; Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed; and Representative Elaine A. Coderre, Speaker Pro Tempore hosted the event for Crossroads Rhode Island. Governor Chafee attended as well.
"We see this as a true crisis. Something needs to be done." -- Gina Raimondo
"The numbers are rising," said Raimondo, who is also vice chair of Crossroads' Board of Directors. "The causes are more complex. This report tells us more about who our homeless women are, what parts of Rhode Island they are coming from, and what we can do to begin to address their unique needs."
The Crossroads Women’s Shelter, opened in 2008 with a 41-person capacity, today serves an average of 60 women per night, with the majority being newly homeless, many of them affected by the economic downturn. In response to the dramatic increase in numbers and a steadily increasing trend, the report was undertaken to provide the state's leadership, the public and the media with facts and a call to action.
"Women have emerged as a growing, seriously underserved sub-population of 'the homeless.'" --Anne Nolan
“Although women have emerged as a growing, seriously underserved and undefined sub-population of 'the homeless,'" said Nolan, "little thought has been given to providing shelter beds for them. And very few resources have been directed to establishing female-centered shelters that focus on the special needs of women."
“We are thankful to see our women leadership embracing this critical issue. It is only with their support and strength, and the commitment of us all that we can address this alarming trend. It is of great importance to all of Rhode Island."
Some of the highlights of the report are:
• Women are the fastest growing group of people facing homelessness.
• While homeless women come from all communities in the state, the majority are from: Providence, Pawtucket, Cranston, Woonsocket, and Warwick.
• There has been a 300% increase in homelessness due to foreclosure, and a 32% increase due to job or income loss.
• Of the 43.6 million Americans currently living in poverty 55% are women.
• The report calls for more gender specific data to be collected; more intensive case management and more feminine centered support services, among other needs.
Crossroads Rhode Island assists homeless and disconnected Rhode Islanders on their journey toward a better quality of life. Crossroads does this by providing a continuum of care that includes basic emergency needs, shelter, housing, case management and vocational services for individuals and families.
Throughout the month of March, Crossroads will be actively getting the word out about the recent figures, and holding statewide events to create awareness, culminating with the fourth annual Women Helping Women Event on March 31, 5:30 p.m. at Cafe Nuovo.