DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Housing

Mr Men-inspired book shines a light on women's homelessness

Little Miss Homeless tackles the tough truths of women sleeping rough or forced to stay on friends' sofas

An Exeter PhD student has created a hard-hitting book parodying the Mr Men and Little Miss series to highlight the unique challenges faced by homeless women.

Little Miss Homeless, written and illustrated by 24-year-old Harriet Earle-Brown, explores issues of domestic violence, sexual abuse, hygiene and the dangers of being a woman living on the streets.

The book – which is not affiliated with the Roger Hargreaves classics – was originally produced as part of her studies at the University of Exeter but soon drew the attention of switched-on readers and activists.

Earle-Brown has now made the book available for free online and will soon publish hard copies for no profit.

The author drew on Office for National Statistics research to create the Little Miss Homeless story, studying real-life accounts of women’s homelessness and death rates for those forced to sleep rough.

Focusing on homeless women’s experiences as part of her PhD, Earle-Brown said she is particularly concerned by the issues more specific to them like periods when sleeping rough, sex work and the high rate at which homeless women get into relationships for safety on the streets.

little miss homeless

“The response to the book has been overwhelming,” she told The Big Issue. “I have had so many kind comments from so many people.

“I am so excited to see this book reaching wider audiences and raising awareness of the issues homeless women face, as this is exactly what I wanted the book to do.”

The author added that the role of gender in homelessness often goes unacknowledged, meaning the needs of homeless women are not being met.

According to charity Homeless Link, homeless women are typically less visible on the streets than men, more likely to be hidden homeless or forced to ‘sofa-surf’, and more likely to have experienced trauma and abuse both before and during homelessness including separation from children.

And the number of women sleeping rough has been rising over the last decade. Last year Crisis reported that one in three women said they had experienced sexual violence while homeless.

Lucy Patrick, communications manager at homeless charity St Petrock’s, told Devon Live that Little Miss Homeless portrays the struggles of homeless women “in a shocking but truthful way”.

She added that the book presents the complexities around homelessness in a “deceptively simple” form, forcing the reader to learn about the harsh realities of sleeping rough as a woman.

Read Little Miss Homeless online or contact harriet.earle-brown@outlook.com for hard copies costing roughly £5.

Image: Harriet Earle-Brown

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'All my stuff is ruined now': Renter speaks out after home flooded with faeces and sewage
Privste renter Decoda Smith
RENTING

'All my stuff is ruined now': Renter speaks out after home flooded with faeces and sewage

Council charges Grenfell residents cleaning fee for memorial to victims: 'Who would think this was fair?'
Grenfell memorial
Grenfell

Council charges Grenfell residents cleaning fee for memorial to victims: 'Who would think this was fair?'

Labour manifesto's 'vague' plans on homelessness unpicked: 'Next to nothing for those on the margins'
Labour leader Keir Starmer
General election 2024

Labour manifesto's 'vague' plans on homelessness unpicked: 'Next to nothing for those on the margins'

Seven years after Grenfell Tower fire: Residents fear they'll die before seeing justice
Grenfell

Seven years after Grenfell Tower fire: Residents fear they'll die before seeing justice

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know