El Paso County is among the top five counties in Texas with the highest number of domestic violence deaths last year (Honoring Texas Victims Report, 2014). Single mothers in El Paso bear the biggest burdens in economic gaps in wages and housing expenditures (Texas Women’s Foundation Study May, 2015)
The sobering statistics presented by The Texas Women’s Foundation and the Honoring Texas Victims Report are staggeringly clear:
- 5 deaths due to domestic violence in El Paso County in 2014. Five mothers taken from their children.
- 132 victims died in 55 Texas Counties…120 children witnessed the crimes…9 family members also lost their lives.
- 48% of all single mothers in El Paso County live in poverty.
- 71% of all single mothers are “house-burdened” paying more than 30% of their income in rent.
- 19% of a single mother’s annual income goes to paying day-care.
- Only 20% of young girls in 8th grade in 2001 have since gotten any higher education.
Every week in one-to-one interviews in the shelters in El Paso, this data is confirmed by the stories of women left behind, marginalized, abused and traumatized. The stories underscore the connection between homelessness and poverty, homelessness and abuse. The challenges shelters for women and their children in El Paso face to accommodate and provide them with quality services and eradicate homelessness altogether have never been greater.
Concurrently, there is an increasing number of women with children who cross the Texas-Mexican border seeking security and employment. Contrary to recent upbeat opinions about increased security in Juarez, many of the women appearing at the shelter door are individuals whose lives have been seriously disrupted by the continuing violence in certain neighborhoods in Juarez and who flee in fear for themselves and their children. In many cases, one or more of their children are U.S. citizens. Regardless of this fact, these families find it difficult to find a women’s shelter that will choose to work with them to stabilize their immigration status and find the necessary means to live securely without fear in El Paso County.