Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book, “The Tipping Point” identifies that in any major societal change, there is a point, an issue or moment that “tips” the momentum of an issue from unknown to significance and ultimately a change in culture.
In 2009, more than 400 different women spent a night in a shelter. More than 2,500 other women are estimated to be homeless in Simcoe County – either couch surfing, sleeping on the streets or accessing Out of the Cold programs in Barrie or Midland.
21% of women living on the streets were sexually assaulted or raped in the past year.
Homeless women are 10 times more likely to die than women with homes.
66% of women living on the streets indicate that they are living on the streets simply because of unaffordable rents or eviction.
More than half of the women on the streets have been diagnosed with mental health issues the majority being severe depression and anxiety and only 2% suffering from schizophrenia.
The prototypical homeless woman is living on the streets because they cannot afford rent and have been evicted. They have a 21% chance of being raped or sexually assaulted this year. They are 10 times more likely to die than the average person and more than half of them suffer from mental health issues – primarily severe depression or anxiety.
This must be the Tipping Point. The hope is that the findings of this report card will serve as that very thing, the Tipping Point to the crisis of our conscience. These women are our sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins and friends. Homelessness is not a choice – it is a tragedy.