NY Homeless Women Now Have These Necessities Thanks to New Bill

There are 50,000 homeless women living in the U.S. — meaning that those women have had to deal with periods on a far less convenient scale than most.

In fact, homeless women are often forced to improvise with not-so sanitary materials like socks, shirts, and plastic bags.

"Not only is it terrible, but it’s also embarrassing," said 27-year-old Kailah Willcuts in an interview with Bustle. She was featured in their recent docuseries. "Not to mention that now you have this stain on your pants. I only have the clothes that I'm wearing, so I'm standing there half naked, bloodied, you know, washing my clothes out."

In efforts to aid this problem for homeless women, New York passed bill requiring shelters to provide pads and tampons. As the first city in the country to do this, the bill will enforce public schools, jails, and homeless shelters to supply these products for free.

"You shouldn't have to choose between a pad and having lunch," said New York City Council Member, Julissa Ferreras Copeland.

But Bustle also reports that for many homeless women, shelters are still considered too dangerous to visit — even for free sanitary pads. “I won’t do it, I can’t do it,” said Courtney, a homeless woman living in New York, when asked about visiting a shelter. “I choose to be out here in the streets.”

"It's about dignity and women understanding that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this process," Copeland said. "Once we take the taboo away from this product, then we are really empowering women."

Learn more from interviews with homeless women from Bustle's NSFWomen docuseries below.

NEXT: Everything You Need to Know About the Empowerment Plan and Its Campaign to End Homelessness With DVF »

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