Women who are homeless face many exceptionally complicated and connected problems which make it challenging for them to move on with their lives.
The Rebuilding Shattered Lives final report brings together more than 200 contributions from charities, academics and homeless women themselves. It sets out the issues, good practice and ten recommendations.
The report highlights problems including separation from children, mental and physical ill health, prison sentences, drug and alcohol use and involvement in prostitution. These problems often stem from trauma following violence and abuse.
Charles Fraser, St Mungo’s former Chief Executive, said: “There is much good practice out there, but as this report shows, we also need new approaches. We have to get this right, work with partners and act now.”
The report raises two particular concerns:
- Homeless and other services are predominantly developed by, and for men, because they make up the majority of clients. As a result they are often designed with men in mind and can fail to support women effectively.
- With homelessness rising, support services being cut and restrictions on benefits are likely to impact women in particular – almost one million more women claim housing benefit than men – the report raises fears of a ‘timebomb’ of women’s homelessness.