Most homeless folks tend to find other people in similar circumstances to share with, to protect one another's belongings, to engage in simple human connection. This seems to be a little easier for the men; I don't know why. Perhaps they have more strength or confidence, or it's because there are so many more men living out there than women. (Women and children are more likely to find space in shelters, whereas single men often aren't allowed.) Men tend to stay homeless longer, and they are more inclined to accept their circumstances at some point, and stop fighting to get back into mainstream living. So over time they find more "neighbors."
Women often feel that they must have a relationship with a man for their own survival. The rest of society has mostly grown past that traditional necessity, but women on the street are a lot like women of 200 years ago -- they don't have enough strength or resources of their own, so they rely on the protection of someone stronger, more connected to the homeless community, and more likely to scare off would-be trouble, whether it's thieves or rapists. (Seriously, it's that bad out there.)
I met a woman recently who had been beaten up and left by her boyfriend. She slept alone a couple of nights before all her belongings were stolen. Without a man nearby, thieves get bolder. She was physically OK, for the most part, but she now had nothing but the clothes on her back and the blanket she was sleeping in. How on earth do we help someone like that? I'm so not equipped to make any meaningful difference. We gave her a hot meal, and talked about resources, shelters, social workers, emergency contact numbers. She confessed that sometimes it's just easier to get arrested, because then you're at least in from the cold, reasonably safe, and getting fed.
Why are we as a society more willing to lock people up than we are to provide shelter and necessities for those who have none? Prisons cost so much more! We have to find a better way to deal with non-violent offenders, so the money supporting them could be put to use caring for people in need. If we, humanity, could just bring ourselves to think first of how to help instead of how to hold accountable, imagine the world we would create for our children.