Creating dignity and respect for homeless women
The Blossom-Project was born out of sadness and despair by the growing homeless population in San Francisco, a city known as the mecca of innovation and wealth created by the tech industry. The city of San Francisco has more than 7,000 homeless people, 35% of which are women between the ages of 20 to 50 years.
When Tine Christensen, founder of Blossom Project, arrived in San Francisco four years ago she was struck by the magnitude of the homeless population – not just limited to one area but virtually all over the city and surrounding areas. Living in wind-swept tents, sleeping in alleys, hiding underneath highway bridges, yelling or talking to themselves in the streets, Tine explains, “it was impossible not to be deeply saddened by the size and severity of the problem.”
Tine continues, “I was struck by the difficulties that homeless women face attempting to maintain personal dignity, safety and good sanitary habits, especially during monthly feminine periods. Homeless women face challenges such as violence and disregard, and are often overlooked or conveniently ignored.”
In 2016, Tine started the Blossom Project, a non-profit organization handing out sanitary bags to homeless women in the Bay Area. Only 12 months later the organization has handed out 1,200 bags and has established partnerships with homeless outreach teams and large technology companies, as well as put together an organization based on volunteers.
Sanitary bags with hygiene products and a handwritten card “from one woman to another”
At Blossom we build relationships with the city outreach teams, other non-profit organizations and companies to help tackle some of these issues. Recently, we teamed up with 14 female employees at Zendesk in San Francisco to pack 300 bags for homeless women in the Bay Area. The next packing event in December will be a Google event. Zendesk and other technology companies encourage their employees to get involved in local community work and improve the lives of people in need of help.
Locker Room project
The latest initiative from Blossom Project is establish a locker room for homeless women in San Francisco.
Tine explains, “in many instances, homeless women have had unfortunate experiences with social services and bureaucratic institutions, and therefore, are hesitant to trust them again. The locker room itself is more than just a place to store belongings – it is a physical space that is conducive to establishing a connection between the caseworkers and the homeless women. The importance of this relationship cannot be overstated – it is symbiotic, and restores a sense of hope. The approach is based on a Scandinavian model called “The Common Third”, where an activity (storing belongings in a locker room) between a woman and a caseworker leads to conversation and trust.
Blossom Project is in the process of securing funding and working with City of San Francisco and other organizations to find an appropriate location for the project. Here is the GoFundMe campaign for the Locker Room project.
In the words of Edward Everett Hale “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do”
So please reach out to Blossom today, if you or your company would like to take a stand and support homeless women in San Francisco through our sanitary project or our locker room project.
Blossom works for creating respect, dignity, visibility and inclusion for vulnerable women in San Francisco-US and Denmark Copenhagen. Blossom is a non profit that through relationship building create better conditions for vulnerable women, through prevention programs.
1. Period Bags, that seek to help homeless women managing their menstruation and for outreach professional to make contact with the women and promote health.
2. A 13 week course for refugee women in Denmark, that seeks to create a better foundation for integration and better Danish language skills.
3. A locker room project, offering women safe and secure locker spaces and a community to interact with and help address life’s challenges.