November 15, 2017

Rising Number of Homeless Newborns, Pregnant Women Struggling in San Francisco


An NBC Bay Area investigation reveals a dramatic increase in the number of homeless pregnant women and newborns struggling to make ends meet in high-priced San Francisco, where the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment now totals $3,390 per month.

“Women tend to languish without stable housing for most of their pregnancy,” said Dana Lazarovitz, a registered nurse with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.  “There’s nowhere affordable for them to live with their family.”

When pregnant women are spotted throughout the city, Lazarovitz is generally the first to respond.  The epidemic of pregnant homeless women is on the rise and Lazarovitz is trying to confine the crisis.

“More and more women are describing themselves as homeless or marginally housed,” she said.  “It doesn’t feel like there’s enough housing available to them when they need it most.”

Rising Number of Homeless Pregnant Women

Her patient list of homeless pregnant women has roughly tripled in just the past five years. While San Francisco shelters boast 137 beds each night for homeless families, most pregnant women aren’t prioritized until they’re at least 7 months along.

“In my experience, pregnant women will spend most of their pregnancy on the streets before they’re prioritized for a family shelter,” she said.  “That’s a really serious issue.”

Lazarovitz believes the housing crisis is to blame for the rising number of pregnant homeless women.

“There are so few affordable housing units and supportive housing units for women,” she said.

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