In Minnesota, the most common reason for women to enter a shelter is domestic violence. According to some estimates, among homeless women and children, approximately half are fleeing domestic violence.

According to Wilder Research Center:

  • 46 percent of homeless women report staying in an abusive relationship because they had nowhere else to live
  • 69 percent of homeless women have children under age 18; 53 percent have at least one child with them
  • Domestic violence is at least part of the reason for one in three homeless women being without housing

More facts about the relationship between domestic violence and homelessness can be found on the Coalition’s impacts of domestic violence page.

Barriers to Housing

  • Partner’s Abusive Behavior. The perpetrator often wreaks havoc on a woman’s credit history, leaves her with no landlord references, and denies her the ability to receive her security and utility deposit.
  • Consequences of Housing Policy. The federal government repealed the requirement to give preference to those households most in need of housing subsidies, causing survivors of abuse to wait in line for years to get affordable housing.
  • Lack of Financial Resources. The lack of affordable housing, decline in state and federal housing subsidies, housing discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities, and reductions in public assistance programs present even further barriers to low-income women who may not have savings or job skills to acquire an adequate wage to support themselves and children.
  • Disconnect in Funding Streams Complicate Service Delivery. Funding streams are set up for specific service needs (for example, mental health, child care or energy assistance) and do not consider the whole person, forcing many people to fall through the cracks because they don’t fit into an appropriate box.