Stonepillow: Don't Forget Homeless Women this International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is today, and this year focusses around not just celebrating women, but breaking the cycle of bias, stereotypes and discrimination to ensure a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

​​​​​​Homeless and rough sleeping women are the hidden homeless. Despite academic and policy knowledge generated  about homelessness being dominated by the experiences of men, recognition is growing that women's  homelessness is worth scrutiny.  

Women rough sleep in the Chichester and Arun districts. However, it is inherently hidden because being a visible  rough sleeper on the streets is dangerous, therefore, safety is a key motivation for women to remain hidden and goes against the misconception that rough sleepers are thought to sleep mainly in doorways, town centres, and  other visible locations. An assumption based on the rough sleeping strategies of men. Consequently, hiding from  harm can mean that women are often hidden from help. 

Local Authorities conduct street counts for the number of people sleeping rough per night and are typically focussed  on town centres and known rough sleeper sites. With efforts concentrating on areas that (mostly male) rough  sleepers are 'known' to use, it is no wonder that in the 2019 official rough sleeper count in England only 14% per  cent of rough sleepers recorded were women. 

Stonepillow wants to ensure that our community of hidden homeless women are given a voice, provided with safe  housing, and supported on their journey to independent living through equality of access to our services. 

We have a variety of housing options, from our Women’s Therapeutic Service, 24-hour Hostels, Supported  Accommodation, and street-based support team. However, we do not work in isolation and work in partnership with  My Sister’s House, YADA, Mind and many other organisations to offer individual person-led support to empower our  women to a life they want to live. 

In 2020 Stonepillow supported 117 women, but sadly, there are more out there who need our support back into  safety. Our Therapeutic Women’s Service, is a safe space for single homeless women with multiple needs, providing  sanctuary and access to specialist support for some of the most vulnerable females in our community. This service  enables women to rebuild their lives by providing a therapeutic environment to help improve their health and  wellbeing, leading to sustainable independence.  

If you would like to help support this, or one of our many other services, to help support and empower homeless  people in our community, please visit the Stonepillow website www.stonepillow.org.uk 

 

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