How does “Build Back Better” mean for women who are being displaced into poverty and experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles?

I have witnessed firsthand the systemic barriers that this population faces when trying to access services. And there are many ways that we can “Build Back Better” – by removing these barriers and focusing specifically on people who haven’t had systemic support. The question is, will we?

Making Structural Changes to Remedy Structural Racism

Efforts to re-structure these systemic damages have been brought to the table, but they have not succeeded.

Downtown Women’s Center, here in Skid Row, has garnered support of elected officials across our city and county, raising awareness of the plight of unaccompanied women and pushing for policy changes to support us.

California State Senator Susan Rubio supported the Unaccompanied Women Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021 (SB 678), which would have allowed for resources to build an infrastructure to support this vulnerable subpopulation. Although it had overwhelming bipartisan and community support, when it went before the California State Assembly Housing and Community Development over the summer it was sadly killed by the Assembly Appropriations. I was honored to support it along with Senator Rubio, but its rejection makes a clear point: the political will is not present to fund services specifically for homeless women.

The Build Back Better plan, too, needs to acknowledge the history of these obstacles if we are to “build back” in an equitable way.

Read the full article about building back better for homeless women by Suzette Shaw at The National Alliance to End Homelessness.