My online bat mitzvah student came to me and told me that in addition to learning how to chant her Torah portion beautifully for her bat mitzvah, she also wants to do a mitzvah project, a social action project to do her part to make this world better. And she told me that she and her mother would very much like to prepare necessity bags and give them out to women who are homeless and living on the streets. I was so moved by this idea and asked her what made her think about this? She told me that she had seen some girls her age living very rough on the streets and it really got to her emotionally. And she did some research online and found the following Click Here
The causes and conditions of homelessness are unique for women, girls, and gender diverse peoples. Studies from around the world show that:
- Intimate partner and/or family violence is a key pathway into homelessness for women and girls
- Women and girls are more likely to experience ‘hidden homelessness’, exhausting all informal supports and resources before seeking formal services
- Women and girls’ face unique and profound forms of violence once they enter homelessness, including much higher rates of involvement in human trafficking
- Women’s experiences of homelessness, and use of services and supports, is critically impacted by whether they have dependent children
- Poverty and exclusion are key drivers of homelessness for women and girls.
Women, girls, and gender diverse people experience homelessness intersectionally. This means that a woman’s experience of homelessness is shaped not only by her gender, but also other intersecting social locations (e.g., Indigeneity, (dis)ability) and experiences (e.g., trauma). Multi-marginalized women, girls, and gender diverse peoples experience a greater risk of homelessness and housing instability.
My online bat mitzvah student gathered several of her closest friends and their mothers and they put together necessity bags with feminine hygiene products and body lotions and other necessities and they all drove downtown in a few vans in Toronto and handed them out over several nights to girls and women living on the streets. My student told me that there was something so profound about handing these much-needed accessories to girls and women who were so appreciative and as they locked eyes my student and the homeless girl’s eyes began to well with tears. There’s something so intense about that kind of human connection that is really hard to put into words. If you’ve done something similar you know what I’m talking about. A bat mitzvah is so much more than a 100 yard dash to the finish line of the event itself. It’s a springboard to the way that you’re going to live your life for the rest of your life and looking for opportunities to be kind and good to those very much in need. Please let me know if you’ve had that kind of profound connection with someone that you’ve helped who is homeless.