39.7% of homeless people in the United States are women. 50,000 women are unsheltered and living on the street. Can you imagine what it must be like being a female living on the sidewalks and then having to deal with periods every month?
Probably the hardest thing about being homeless is being a homeless female.
Being a homeless female who has her period, she is literally placed in a crisis situation. She has to literally choose between a sanitary pad, or having lunch.
A pack of pads on average cost $6 while tampons cost $8, which for some homeless women are more than a sandwich’s worth. The real gut-wrenching question here is would you rather be clean than have a full stomach?
Some homeless women have resorted to resourcefulness in order to survive. They’ve admitted to having to use makeup pads, plastic bags, paper towels, socks, and tank tops just to keep themselves clean and dry during the red days.
You can just imagine the level of risk for developing infections from using these alternatives while having no direct access to disinfectants or sanitizing products. Say they do get to afford a few pieces of tampons but end up wearing them longer than they should so their supply lasts them for the entire period – a classic recipe for toxic shock syndrome.
What then is our government doing to address this issue? How can these women be supported so that they can keep safe and clean while living on the streets?
Watch the full feature story by Bustle here. [mashshare]