Single women struggle with homelessness, shelters without kids

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There are a number of emergency shelters in our area, but not everyone has equal access.

Help for women without children, isn’t easy to come by. Add to that mental health and addiction issues and most agencies aren’t equipped to help.

There’s a growing number of women without children or women without custody of their kids who need help.  

Many of them end up on the street because most facilities only have space for families.

When you look at Belvenia Bond, it’s easy to make assumptions, but you don’t know her story.

Belvenia is homeless and after a series of unfortunate incidents she ended up living on the streets.

“It’s scary, it’s not safe for ladies. It’s not safe for a woman, its not safe for a man,” says Bond. “It’s dangerous out here.”

She moved to the Upstate from Washington with her husband but not their children.

After he left her, she was raped and robbed at gunpoint. Now she’s alone and needs a place to stay.

It’s a scenario Becky Castro has heard during her 30 years of service at Miracle Hill Mission.

With only 30 beds available for the ladies, helping those in need can be a challenge.

“Many, many women that come here don’t have custody of their children and they’re trying to get their children back,” says Castro.
It as a growing problem says Castro: single women looking for shelter.

Most facilities focus on women with children.

Miracle Hill keeps beds open for those without little ones and many of those women face mental challenges.

“We see a lot of mentally ill women that maybe they’re dual diagnosed, they have addiction issues and mental health issues and people just can’t handle them,” Castro says.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, an estimated 26 percent of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness.

Nearly 46 percent live with severe mental illness or substance use disorders.

Bond says she needs medication and being here gives her the stability she needs to get back on her feet.

“I feel safe and protected here, I got somewhere to sleep I can eat, I can take my medicine and be normal.”

Miracle Hill serves hundreds of men and women looking for shelter.

They need donations like soap, towels, feminine products and toothpaste. Anything you use, they need.

One solution is treatment as well as providing shelter for people with multiple issues. That’s a challenge for cash-strapped agencies trying to help people from all walks of life.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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