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Women who experience homelessness often struggle to access menstrual products

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 9:18am
Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2024 - 5:09pm

A gallon-size Ziploc bag containing toiletry items for unhoused people, including pads and tampons
Tim Agne/KJZZ
This “Kindness Kit” from Circle the City includes tampons and pads for periods. Without access to sanitary products, unhoused women often make do with unhygienic items.

Women who experience homelessness often struggle to access menstrual products. These women may be forced to use unhygienic items which can put them at risk of infection. 

Kits containing sanitizer or a toothbrush and toothpaste don’t always contain enough — or any — pads or tampons. 

It’s something the mobile medical staff with Circle the City, an organization that provides health care to unhoused individuals, often confronts. Perla Puebla is the associate medical director of street medicine with Circle the City,

“Sometimes we carry extra that we get and we'll give them extra if they're on their period or stuff like that, but that's really hard for them out there,” Puebla said.

And they still encounter women who have nothing and are forced to make do. 

"They can use rags, paper, toilet paper from like a QT bathroom,” she added. “Yes, so they use whatever where they can find.”

Another population impacted by this are perimenopausal homeless women who experience heavy bleeding. 

Circle the City’s “Kindness Kits” are assembled and donated by volunteers.