Homeless Women Countywide Report
Report Sheds Light on Homeless Women in Monterey County
By Janet Shing, CFMC Director of Grant Making
More than 2,700 women living without shelter accessed healthcare from County clinics last year and our local schools served more than 6,000 homeless children.
In 2016 the Community Foundation for Monterey County commissioned an assessment of homeless women on the Monterey Peninsula to answer questions raised by individual stories and hunches, and found that yes, in fact, homelessness among women, especially older women, is on the rise on the Peninsula.
Thanks to the interest and support from the County of Monterey’s Department of Social Services and Health Department, this assessment expanded countywide. The countywide assessment documents some not-so-surprising and surprising information. For example,
- Women are living without shelter throughout the county; this includes Carmel, Pacific Grove, Aromas, Moss Landing, Pajaro, San Ardo, San Lucas and Lockwood.
- Some women without shelter experience a mental health disorder and/or alcohol/drug abuse/addiction. According to County Behavioral Health, 41%, the largest percent, experience both, yet most of our local shelter programs only address one or the other.
Connect the Dots – A Countywide View
I look at our area’s needs with a countywide lens because this is the Community Foundation’s geographic focus.
It is not that important to me if a woman identifies with Seaside because she grew up there or because that’s where her personal mailbox is. She needs help.” – Janet Shing, CFMC Program Officer
The most common causes or precursors to homelessness are poverty, loss of income or some other unexpected, catastrophic event (e.g., major health issue, family separation/crisis). We know of the silver tsunami and aging population – everybody’s doing it.
We need more services, more affordable and very low-income housing, and we need to work smarter. We need more rehabilitation, recovery and case management services. And we need more services for the 80-year old woman – the woman who is not going to return to work, the woman without mental health or alcohol/drug recovery needs. The Community Foundation supports all these kinds of efforts, however grantmaking funds are limited.
Make a Difference
The countywide assessment offers many recommendations. What can you do?
- Give of your time to an organization serving homeless women
- Donate funds
- Get involved in meaningful and appropriate ways
- Read and share the report and this link: www.cfmco.org/HWMC
Read the Report – Homeless Women in Monterey County
The goal of this assessment is to document the primary causes of homelessness for women, women’s needs and challenges, existing services and recommendations for support women’s path to stability. This assessment was commissioned by the Community Foundation for Monterey County on behalf of the County of Monterey, Department of Social Services and Health Department.
Fund for Homeless Women
For more information on the Fund for Homeless Women of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, which was established to assist women living without shelter on the Monterey Peninsula, visit www.cfmco.org/fhw.