Number of homeless women and children spike in LA

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The number of homeless women in Los Angeles increased 55 percent since 2013 - from 9,348 to 14,461, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. (KABC)

The number of homeless women in Los Angeles increased 55 percent since 2013, from 9,348 to 14,461, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

"We have more kids than we've ever had. More moms, more single ladies than we've ever had ... women just continue to pour into our doors," Union Rescue Mission CEO Andy Bales said.

More than half of the people spending the night at the Union Rescue Mission are women and women with children, upwards of about 600.

Anne Miskey, CEO of the Downtown Women's Center, said that many women suffer major trauma before homelessness.

"It's often more than one thing, histories of domestic violence or sexual assault, certainly lack of income," Miskey said.

Heather Graham, 28, is a mother of two who struggled with drug use and lost custody of her baby after becoming homeless.

"I actually was on drugs for about 10 to 15 years, and my life had just spiraled out of control, and I ended up being homeless out in the streets of Santa Clarita ... having kids with you and not being able to provide is the hardest part," Graham said.

Graham has been sober for about a year and will be regaining custody of her 1-year-old baby.

Miskey said it is critical to welcome women seeking help and alleviate any sense of guilt for what they've experienced.

"They've had these things happen to them," Miskey said. "How do we give them the services that they need to support them on their journey, and how do we make sure they have housing?"
Related Topics:
societyhomelesswomenchildrenshelterLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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