hygiene products 080521EDWARDSVILLE – Feminine hygiene products will be required at homeless shelters for all who need them, thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law today.

“I cannot personally imagine the indignity of having to use some other item as a makeshift sanitary product, but I believe people who have already been deprived of so much should not have to suffer that, too,” Belt said. “These are essential products for health, safety, and cleanliness, and we need to treat them as such when we supply our homeless shelters.”

The new law, led by Belt and House Sponsor LaToya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis), prioritizes providing feminine hygiene products at no cost at all homeless shelters to people who need them.

According to a recent NBC report, feminine hygiene products, such as tampons and pads, are some of the least donated items for homeless people in this country, despite being a highly requested item.

“This bill is about providing a lasting and sustainable solution to an increasingly prevalent problem by establishing access to fundamental supports for vulnerable individuals desperately in need,” said Greenwood. “I remain committed to serving as a strong advocate for at-risk women and girls, particularly those whose voices are not being heard.”

On average, more than $2 billion is spent on feminine hygiene products each year in the United States. Purchasing these products can become a significant financial burden, especially for people with children, who make up 60% of the female homeless population in the United States.

Belt is also urging people to donate these types of products to their local homeless shelters.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.