Homeless Women Face Incredible Danger

From Street Roots, I feel like a target—assualts on women run through Portland

She is neatly dressed, wearing a clean pair of jeans, a sweater, and raincoat. At 47 years, her short hair is streaked white.

Homeless for the first time in her life, C moved to Portland three years ago and worked for temping agencies hoping it would lead to a permanent job, which she says had worked for her in the past. She received less work as the recession deepened. She lived off her savings until it ran out, when she became homeless in April.

She describes the experience of being homeless “discombobulating” and “mind-blowing” and “overwhelming.”

“I’ve never used social services,” she says. “I don’t associate with people who use social services. I do what I need to do to get my needs met.”

“I’m one of those people who don’t fit in,” C continues. “I feel like such an outsider.”

It’s a way, says C, of self-preservation. “I’m making myself invisible to stay safe,” she says. “I feel like a target when I’m walking down the street.”

Read more about the difficult circumstances of homeless women in Portland: http://streetroots.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/i-feel-like-a-target%E2%80%94assualts-on-women-run-through-portland/

We think of homelessness as primarily affecting middle-aged men.  But women and children make up a large part of the “unseen homeless”, trapped in difficult circumstances of fear, abuse and addiction.

Life on the streets for any woman has become incredibly dangerous.  To survive, women stay in unhealthy relationships in exchange for at least some protection from theft, beatings, rape or murder.

Shepherd’s Door, the women and children’s ministry of Portland Rescue Mission, offers more than just a meal and shelter from danger.  Inside our doors, up to 38 women and their children journey toward healing from the root causes of their homelessness and addiction.

Your support provides women a way out of overwhelming circumstances.  You give more than a meal.  More than a bed.  You give HOPE.