Home: A Social Business Approach to Solving Homelessness Among Women in the US
(TW: Domestic Violence)
In the United States, there is a population of approximately 328,239,523 women and out of that number, 552,830 are homeless. There are many reasons as to why the US has such a high rate of homelessness, such as domestic violence, low median income, and rising housing costs. Throughout our work, we focused on the prevalence and causes of specifically transitional homelessness. This is the type of homelessness affecting individuals who have recently been affected by a life-changing, catastrophic event.
Throughout our research, we observed that there were very few practical solutions to address the rising rates of homelessness, specifically within the female-identifying homeless population. We wanted to propose a sustainable solution that would provide realistic, obtainable goals and create change within this demographic of the United States. The design we adopted was a social business approach, where there is no one making money off the business and the profits are invested back into the business, which generates revenue through the production of CBD sourced from hemp. We will use startup funds from a few different initiatives to develop modular homes on farmland that will later serve as housing for homeless women and will be provided to them at a discounted rate. While women are staying in our facilities, they will be provided therapy and substance abuse counseling. They will also be provided with local nutrient-rich meals grown on the farm and sourced from local vendors. Women will all be assigned jobs throughout the campus such as meal preparation, custodial work, providing childcare, however, the majority of our inhabitants will work in the fields and greenhouses to harvest and plant hemp which we will later sell to wholesalers with the intent to produce CBD. Our goal is to assist women through their period of transitional homelessness and offer them skills such as resume building, job searching, and counseling to help them back onto their feet.
We chose to address this issue because of the lack of available and safe housing for women, many homeless shelters are either at capacity or unsafe, with rampant assaults taking place.. What makes our approach unique is that we focus specifically on transitional homelessness, with the thought that if we can intervene during this transition we can prevent the rise of long term or chronic homelessness. What also sets us apart is our community-minded housing approach, we focus not only on helping these women survive this time in their lives but to build skills to thrive in the future.
Tackling a pressing issue like female transitional homelessness was no easy task for college students to accomplish, but advocating for the prosperity of women was too important of a task to back down from. Taking into consideration all the factors that lead to homelessness and the difficulty with finding solutions, figuring out a feasible plan to solve this issue required lots of deliberation between our group members. Listening to each of our member’s ideas and perspectives, building new solutions collaboratively, and being able to decipher which ideas wouldn’t work for our project were the main contributors to the success of our team dynamic, and allowed us to build a plan to sustainably fix the US’ homelessness issue. Taking constructive criticism from our professor and class about what parts of our plan needed work and hearing new unique perspectives about the problem also contributed greatly to the success of our final solution. Being an all-female group most importantly gave us a uniquely personal connection to our research topic, making it more than just an assignment to us. Instead, we found a way for us as college students to contribute to raising awareness about an ongoing struggle for female equality.
Avery Gluchacki ‘24, Spanish/Secondary Education; Taylor Pimentel ‘24, Environmental Science/Political Science; Mallory Sheridan ‘24, Biology/Secondary Education; Mikayla Titus ‘24, Biology/Public Health
Nominating Professor: Jonathan Chow