The 64th U.S. Secretary of State and first woman to hold the title, Madeline K. Albright, once said: "There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women." OK, it's a harsh statement, but we can get behind the idea. After all, who better to understand the challenges females face than other gals? There are all the obvious obstacles -workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, education hurdles- but we were shocked to learn about a devastating issue that affects women in New York City at an alarmingly high rate.
"There are more than 35,000 people who will sleep in NYC shelters each night and a staggering 80% are women and children," said Nikki Gannon Wargo, Director of Special Projects and Partnerships at Women In Need, an organization that provides social services, support, and shelter to homeless or disadvantaged women and their families. So why the sky-high statistics?
"Mothers are the ones who are generally left to care for families and when they can’t pay the rent or pay for childcare, they have no other choice but to go to a shelter. A large number of homeless women are also fleeing domestic violence situations," said Gannon. Not surprisingly, homelessness disrupts nearly every aspect of a woman's family life, posing serious threats to her physical and emotional health and putting her children and their education and development at risk.
Women in Need provides hope by offering shelter, supportive permanent housing, GED program assistance, literacy programs, job training, domestic violence services, alcohol and substance abuse treatment and childcare—including after school programs and Camp WIN, a summer program catering to children living in WIN shelters.
Since 1983, Women in Need has been working tirelessly to help women live better lives and support themselves independently—an opportunity that some of them have never had before. And this year, there are a record number of families that need assistance—more than 10,000. There are many ways to help the women of the program—by volunteering, supporting the organization on Facebook, or getting involved in their childcare services.
Donations, however, go a really long way. Just $50 provides raincoats and boots for two elementary school children, $250 can dress 10 toddlers in winter coats, $500 provides bed linens for 20 homeless families while a generous $1000 can provide a month of public transportation for program members to utilize for job searching and apartment hunting.
Click here to help a woman help herself.