Part Two: New York State’s progress combatting period poverty

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — When a person or a family comes to St. Paul’s Center, a homeless shelter in Rensselaer, they often have next to nothing. Tracy Pitcher, Executive Director for St. Paul’s said being able to provide period products is significant for their members.

“They’re surprised and relieved because especially with period products they’re expensive,” Pitcher said.

St. Paul’s has 18 beds and for the past year, Pitcher said they have been running at 99 percent occupancy.

Pitcher said over the past year they have been able to successfully keep the shelves stocked with tampons and pads of all sizes but additional state funding would make a difference. She said they often have to do quite a bit of fundraising and rely on donations.

In New York, one in six women and girls between the ages of 12 and 44 live below the poverty line, according to data from the Alliance For Period Supplies.

Katie Rhodes, who helps run Catholic Charities, a homeless shelter in Chemung County said that it can be very challenging to keep stocked period products for their members. They house over a hundred people and receive most of their period products from community donations. Like Pitcher, Rhodes also said additional funding from the state could go a long way.

She added that menstruating individuals often feel pressure to ration out the small amount of period products they have which can lead to medical issues.

“We want them to feel like they don’t have to have that problem, that we can assist them with that,” Rhodes said.

And while homeless shelters said that being able to help menstruators in need is significant for them, the legislation goes beyond that– it also combats the stigma around periods.

“It references the fact that it’s a medical need and as a woman, that really was quite meaningful. Period products are a necessary product,” Pitcher said.

Part One: New York State’s progress combatting period poverty

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