Program Update: Women & Homelessness

Across the country, thousands of women experience homelessness each night. Step Up is committed to breaking that cycle.

Sunnie, Step Up Member

An estimated 250,000 women experience homelessness on any given night in the United States. For women especially, living unhoused can be particularly harmful and traumatic. Often, women who are experiencing homelessness face a ‘cycle of perpetual vulnerability’ including trauma from chronic abuse/violence inflicted on them, a state of paralysis due to inadequate availability of supportive services, and susceptibility to becoming a target for predators.

Sunnie was barely 18 years old when she first experienced homelessness. She grew up bouncing from foster home to foster home, never fully developing the strong family ties that help many people spread their wings during their late teenage years. Instead, when Sunnie turned 18, she fled, escaping a cycle of  trauma and abuse. But without a safety net, Sunnie had no place to go. For the next five years, she lived on the streets of Los Angeles.

Step Up is dedicated to breaking the cycle of vulnerability and trauma experienced by women like Sunnie through a comprehensive array of trauma-informed services. Step Up provides women experiencing homelessness with permanent supportive housing and supportive services tailored to their unique and individual needs. The primary goal of Step Up’s programs is to provide members with the mental and physical health care they require, leading to better health outcomes, reduced substance use, and retention of their housing status.

With this focus, Step Up continues to expand its comprehensive services with meditation, nutrition, and self-care coaching. The goal is to empower our members to recognize their internal strengths and ensure they have all the tools to maintain their permanent homes and progress toward recovery.  By offering compassionate outreach, permanent housing solutions, and holistic mental and physical health services, Step Up empowers women to reclaim their lives and pursue their goals confidently.

In the fiscal year 2023-2024, Step Up served 515 unaccompanied women experiencing homelessness and provided permanent supportive housing to 303 women throughout Los Angeles.

For women like Sunnie, Step Up’s housing and support programs can be transformative. Now in her late 20s, Sunnie credits Step Up’s Housing First approach for helping her break the cycle of homelessness. Step Up provided her with a stable home and support at Daniel’s Place, where she embarked on her recovery journey. In over ten years with Step Up, she’s pursued her passion for art and served on the Board of Directors of Step Up, offering invaluable support to others.

Reflecting on her journey, Sunnie says, “Coming to Step Up was like coming home, it’s probably one of the best things that’s ever happened to me!”

Step Up’s Women-Centric Programs are made possible in part thanks to support from people like you. To help bring more people like Sunnie break the cycle of homelessness, make a donation today

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