Homeless Women I did these drawings for a series of four pamphlet/posters on issues of homeless women, based on research conducted by Roofless Women (formerly Roofless Women's Research and Action Research Mobilization, or RWARM) and the resulting report, Lifting the Voices of Homeless Women.

The following are comments by homeless women who participated in RWARM's survey:

“I don't think this [homeless shelter] is any place that anybody would want to be. You don't have a decent place for your kids to sleep at night time. There's not a decent place for you to cook or fix a meal for your children. The curfew, the way your children act from when you bring them here, the whole atmosphere changes them. It's hard to discipline them when you're here.”

“You're forced to live in 12-hour stretches. It's hard to accept job interviews because you don't know until 4 p.m. the night before whether you'll be staying where your clothes are stored and where there's an iron. There is a certain freedom in living in the present tense but without that other important freedom, the ability to plan for the future, it's hard to end one's homelessness.”

“I really didn't know how to explain it. I didn't want them to know they were homeless.”

“I teach my kids, don't lie. But she found herself lying, you know, telling people she lived somewhere else.”

“I just don't think the shelter is a place to raise children. Because to me it's like all your morals are being taken away, all your values from your background. All my dignity is shifted away because I'm here now.”

“I tell her things are going to be better and to give me time and I'm really trying hard to get out of here. And in a tone of voice so she understands. And she really doesn't, she just knows I'm sad. And she always tells me, 'I love you, Mommy,' 'cause she knows I'm a nervous wreck.”

The Children's Defense Fund 1997 Yearbook says that every day in America:

2,556 children are born into poverty.

100,000 children are homeless.

10 million children have no health insurance.

14 million children live in poverty.

Here are some further statistics from RWARM's study:

75% of the women interviewed were mothers. (Average number of children: 2).

57% had minor children with them in shelter.

78% of those children were under age seven.

Of 51 women who had fled domestic violence, almost half had children not living with them.

Only five women received child support.

You can contact Roofless Women by calling them at (617) 367-0520, extension 17.

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