Periods when homeless. Since the pandemic, there has been an increase in people becoming homeless and applying for homelessness assistance. Periods don’t stop for pandemics, and they certainly don’t stop if you don’t have a safe space to call home. In this article, we’ll highlight the challenges when experiencing periods when homeless.
Periods when homeless: Safe Spaces
Why you need a safe & private space during your period:
- To change products, To clean your hands, body, and clothes.
- To have a space to rest and feel comfortable.
Why safe spaces are difficult to access while experiencing homelessness:
- Limited spaces in shelters.
- Shelters may have limited times that one can access facilities.
- Some shelters only allow people to shelter overnight.
- Public restrooms may not be safe or easily accessible.
- Especially during COVID when so many have closed.
Periods when homeless: Products & Extra Clothing
Why you need period products and extra clothing during your period:
- Period products are used to collect or absorb the period blood.
- Underwear is necessary for some period products like menstrual pads.
- Comfy clothes, especially if you experience bloating or are sensitive to temperature changes.
Why period products and extra clothing are hard to get while experiencing homelessness:
- They cost money!
- It can be difficult to keep them safe and dry, so having extras might not be an option.
- Shelters may not have enough for everyone who needs them and options are usually limited.
Health Education and Treatment
Why you need access to education and treatment if you have a period:
- It’s important to know how to care for yourself and when you should seek professional medical help.
- Education on how to maintain good menstrual health is vital.
- Access to treatment for any period-related issues is a basic right.
Why health education and treatment are difficult to access while experiencing homelessness:
- It can cost money!
- Limited use of the internet or communication.
- Feelings of isolation preventing seeking professional medical help.
So what can we do to get rid of these barriers?
- Continue to educate yourself and think of how you can make a difference.
- Because you definitely can and we need lots of people working on this issue!
- Support shelters and organizations that provide safe spaces, period products, and health services.
- Spread the awareness of this need.
- Look into ways to initiate or support changes in your local government to support those experiencing homelessness.
Finally, some inspiring groups already working on this
- #TheHomelessPeriod is a UK-based organization that fought for shelters to have funds for menstrual products.
- Support the Girls is based in Washington, DC and donates period products and bras to shelters and organizations.
- #HappyPeriod was started in Los Angeles and hands out period product care packages directly to people living on the street.
- RACKET. is a Broadway-based donation drive that raises awareness and donations for shelters in New York City.
- Lava Mae was founded in San Francisco and provides mobile showers and toilets with hot and cold running water for people.
- PERIOD. delivers period care packages to people in need and was started by a young woman who experienced homelessness herself.
- Project Pink Box was a donation project that provided machines in public restrooms that dispense free period products along with safety information for those experiencing domestic abuse.
- Bloody Good Period is a UK based organization that delivers period products to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.
Let us know how you think we can change this issue!
Weiss-Wolf, J. (2017). Periods gone public: taking a stand for menstrual equity. Arcade Publishing.
Written by Morgan Ludington
April 3, 2021
Edited by Lilypads