In the aftermath of a recent tragedy, the push to create a shelter for homeless women is gaining momentum.
On June 15, Valerie Godoy was murdered and her body left at Duncan Park on Ninth Street in downtown Austin. (Police are still looking for her assailant.) Local advocacy organization House the Homeless says the murder is a wake-up call to Austin.
A life on the streets leaves all homeless susceptible to crime and attacks. But noting the dangers unique to female members of the homeless population, House the Homeless is calling for the creation of a women’s homeless shelter – the Valerie Godoy Women’s Shelter.
Austin currently has women’s shelters, but in a blog post, House the Homeless notes they may not be accessible to all:
Texas has 195, nine of them in Austin. At first blush, that sounds great. When you break it down, the situation is more complicated and less rosy. It’s not clear which institutions are actually places with beds, and which are referral agencies. Two of the listings specifically mention domestic violence, and although women experiencing homelessness are often subject to violence from partners, the specialized nature of some establishments can make it hard to gain admission. One listing is not a shelter but a hotline. And so it goes.
House the Homeless is currently collecting signatures calling for the creation of a women’s shelter. They currently have just over 300 signatures online out of a goal of 1,000 – but that doesn’t include over 700 signatures collected on paper.