Homeless Women and Crime
Charisse T. M. Coston
“Homeless women,” “shopping-bag ladies,” or “urban transient females” are labels used for women who have no established residence, wander idly from place to place without visible means of support, and are living on the streets due to a situational housing problem. As with homeless men, these women are considered to be members of the penniless segment of society, with local variations in lifestyle and in relative numbers; they are found in all major cities in the United States and other nations in both the developed and developing world. There is no way to determine the true number of these types of homeless women in the United States; an accurate measure does not exist, and all figures are estimates. Estimates from the 1990 U.S. Census indicate that there are 282,372 homeless people in the United States, and approximately 25 percent are female. Coston (1989) believes that there are fewer homeless women ...