"A Life-Threatening Condition"
TORONTO, June 23 /CNW/ - A new study released today documents the brutal
impact of homelessness on the lives of women in Toronto. Calling homelessness
a "life-threatening" condition for women, the study reveals staggering rates
of sexual assault among homeless women, and documents health impacts that
significantly reduce life expectancy. The Women & Homelessness Research
Bulletin, released jointly by Street Health and Sistering, paints a detailed
picture of women's street homelessness today and its devastating impact.
"We were staggered to learn that homeless women are ten times more likely
to be sexually assaulted than homeless men and are more likely to have a
serious physical health condition," stated Kate Mason, study coordinator at
Street Health. "One in five women had been sexually assaulted in the past year
and almost all - 84% - had at least one serious physical health condition."
"Absolute poverty exists on the streets of our city with brutal
consequences for women," said Angela Robertson, study advisor, and Executive
Director of Sistering. "Homeless women cannot meet their basic survival needs
- they don't know where their next meal is coming from, they don't have safe
shelter or private space to address personal hygiene needs. The provincial
government is developing a strategy to reduce poverty, that strategy should
include steps to bring an end to women's street homelessness. It's unsafe and
unjust to condemn a woman to live on the street."
The study is a partnership between Street Health, an organization
providing nursing care and street outreach services to homeless people, and
Sistering, a multi-service agency for homeless and low-income women in
Toronto. It surveyed 97 homeless women in Toronto about their health status
and access to health care. Findings include information on the causes of
homelessness, the difficult daily lives of homeless women, their physical and
mental health status, as well as the barriers homeless women face when
attempting to access health care. The bulletin sets out a series of solutions
aimed at service providers and all levels of government to improve the health
of homeless women and end homelessness.
This evening, homeless, marginalized and low-income women are invited to
Back Talk: Women Speak about Reducing Poverty in their Lives, a forum intended
to give them a chance to have input into the government's poverty reduction
strategy. Back Talk takes place during 3:30-6:30 pm at Sistering, 962 Bloor
Street West, Toronto.
The Women & Homelessness Research Bulletin is available online at
www.streethealth.ca and www.sistering.org.
This report was funded by the Wellesley Institute, Metcalf Foundation,
Human Resources and Social Development Canada Homelessness Partnering
Secretariat, and Canadian Institutes for Health Research Interdisciplinary
Capacity Enhancement Grant on Homelessness, Housing and Health.
For further information:
For further information: or to arrange interviews with study researchers
or women with lived experience of homelessness, please contact: Kate Mason,
Research Coordinator, Street Health, (416) 921-8668 ext. 228, mobile (416)
829-9159; Angela Robertson, Executive Director, Sistering, (416) 926-9762 ext