Housing

St Mungo's builds strategy for homeless women on International Women's Day

Homelessness services are often designed for men and leave women without adequate support, the charity said

woman city

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s is creating more women-only shelter spaces and improving its services for female domestic abuse victims.

On International Women’s Day, the charity is launching its three-year women’s strategy – which will see staff work to improve their own services as well as campaigning to influence policy and protect funding for specialist services, such as that which support women recovering from sexual violence.

The latest figures from St Mungo’s show that 642 women sleep rough on any one night in England.

The Rebuilding Shattered Lives report, published five years ago, showed there was a lack of research and understanding of contributing factors to women’s homelessness, resulting in lacklustre support for vulnerable women. It concluded that services are often designed for men exclusively.

Catherine Glew, women’s strategy manager at St Mungo’s, said: “With this new strategy, we aim to create an environment of physical and psychological safety for our female clients, who face disproportionate risk of harm from people they love and trust as well as the dangers of homelessness.

“We will continue to speak out about the link between gender, violence and homelessness, to make sure women are not forgotten or left behind by government policy.”

Homeless women in the UK have experienced physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse at a high rate – it can be both a cause and a consequence of homelessness. Nearly half of St Mungo’s women residents are survivors of domestic abuse from a partner or family member.

Many homeless women may be missed by official counts too, because of the number forced to seek shelter with abusive partners or staying with friends and family temporarily.

Glew added: “Our clients cannot wait for government to make women’s homelessness a priority. We choose to prioritise women’s safety.”

Words: Anna Whealing

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
Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them
Renters angry at no-fault evictions, Renters Reform Bill delay and a lack of rent controls
RENTING

Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them

Starmer warned over glaring omission in Labour's six general election pledges: 'I'm disappointed'
Housing crisis

Starmer warned over glaring omission in Labour's six general election pledges: 'I'm disappointed'

Scottish government is declaring a national housing emergency – but what does it actually mean?
Scottish first minister John Swinney
Housing

Scottish government is declaring a national housing emergency – but what does it actually mean?

Home Office drops plan to arrest homeless people if they smell
Homelessness

Home Office drops plan to arrest homeless people if they smell

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