Many services are run generically, cater to men and do not have the specific resources to help women who have experienced certain kinds of trauma. Women who are hiding from perpetrators fear using these services and can be targeted for sexual abuse and prostitution.
To a women experiencing homelessness shelters can seem unsafe. Many feel safer sleeping on the street rather than in a hostel situation where there may be dangerous men. It can be an intimidating environment for someone who has suffered abuse at the hands of a man.
As a women with lived experience of being street homeless I had to wait two and half years to be placed in a women’s hostel as I wouldn’t go into a mixed hostel. There wasn’t many women only hostels in London and none which would accept’ those of us with high support needs.’
Women are often stuck in limbo like I was. It is frustrating. Women lose their homes and their possessions when going to prison and are consequently released homeless, with housing benefit stopped if their sentence is in excess of 12 weeks). As a result their ‘local connection’ can be lost and with it the vital support offered by local day centres . The government needs to get their fingers out of their butt- cheeks and do a lot more to to make we are given the right support and care package before we become another homeless death statistic. In the two months I was rough sleeping I knew of four women who had tragically died far too young from “slipping through the net “.