The amount of homeless women has been increasing year by year. The position women are put when becoming homeless is extremely unsafe and scary. Women are at great risk of abuse and violence when living under the stars. There is no one reason why the amount of homeless women has increased but common reasons for women’s homelessness are substance abuse problems and mental health issues. Often the drugs and alcohol have come to the picture at a very young age. While there are more women ending up homeless, the age of them is getting younger. (Yle 2018).
In Yle article “Asunnoton nainen asui kuukauden lumimajassa, toinen keräsi pulloja henkensä pitimiksi – “Pelkoa ei saa näyttää””, the life of a homeless woman is described by three women in different situations. One of them lost her home due to her alcoholism, the other due to her difficult family situation and drugs, and the third because she gave birth to a special needs child at a young age, the child was taken in to custody and she fell into depression.
I feel anxious even walking outside when it’s dark. I keep looking over my shoulder and if I see someone walking behind me, I feel the need to pick up the pace. I cannot even imagine having to sleep outside with no certainty of safety. In the Yle article the women talked about having to “create a strong skin”. That even though you’d feel scared, you can’t let anyone see it. You can’t seem weak. One of the women rather slept in the woods than in the shelters, just because she felt safer without other people around her.
Women’s homelessness is often hidden. For women it’s more common to sleep at friends and family, sleeping outside is the last resort. Due to this, there are no specific statistics of homeless women. It’s now estimated that one fourth of the homeless people are women. (Iltalehti 2019). There are also families with children who don’t have homes. Most of these families are with single parents. (Vva Ry n.d.).
Home, for me, is something that’s defined with the people in it and the atmosphere I’ve created there. I’ve moved many times during my life, so for me home isn’t a certain house or apartment. I can create my home anywhere I go. Home is a place I’m myself and where I feel comfortable in. It’s impossible for me to imagine not having one. Even though I’ve lived extremely sparingly, I never had to be afraid of losing my home. I feel great compassion towards these people that have lost their humanity in a way. I can imagine the shame and embarrassment that comes with the issue. I can imagine people’s attitudes creating a huge gap between the homeless and the society. Everyone deserves to go home.
The Voice of a Homeless Woman (Asunnottoman Naisen Ääni) is the theme of this years Asunnottomien Yö (Night of the Homeless) event. Our group is doing our project in co-operation with the event, so we’ll be participating in the organizing and the execution of the event. The event takes place on the 17th of October and we’ll be writing more about it after.