Women more likely to be affected by homelessness, charity says

A report by the association, titled “Fobbed off,” found that 60% of homeless adults in temporary accommodation are women, despite making up 51% of the general population.

Over the past 10 years, the number of homeless women in temporary accommodation has almost doubled.

Shelter said that in 2011, 40,030 women lived in temporary housing, but that figure increased 88% to 75,410 in 2021.

A survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by the association found that women are 36% more likely than men to be in arrears or struggle with housing costs, as single mothers face the most difficult affordability issues. higher, with nearly one in three “constantly” struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

Figures show that 69% of women who rent privately fear they won’t be able to afford a “decent” place if their relationship breaks down.

During the research, 34 women and one non-binary person who were either homeless or living in substandard housing in Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield were interviewed and key findings revealed that domestic violence is the third most common cause. homelessness, with a third of respondents having experienced it.

Research also found that single mothers faced additional barriers to support, which some did not seek for fear of being separated from their children.

Toni, 38, of Birmingham, was left homeless after a romantic break-up and now lives with her children in temporary accommodation, which she described as ‘musty’, ‘in disrepair’ and inaccessible for her disabled son.

She said: “When you are homeless, you are not even spoken to as if you are a human being. Because you are in temporary accommodation, people are making assumptions about you.

“It doesn’t make me feel good, I’m not homeless by my own choice.

“I looked good for the kids, but we can’t live in a temporary apartment forever. This will be our fourth homeless Christmas – every year I say we’ll be gone the next day, but we’re still here. Temporary accommodation doesn’t feel very temporary when it’s been that long.

“I have the impression that we have been forgotten.

Polly Neate, Managing Director of Shelter, said women bear the brunt of the escalating housing crisis and “get failed every time.”

She added, “No mother should have to choose between buying food or paying rent. No woman should have to stay with her abuser or face the streets.

“The rising cost of living and cuts to universal credit mean it will only become more difficult for thousands of women who are barely hanging on to their homes. It’s appalling that women get tricked by professionals who are supposed to help them, and it’s no wonder they feel scared and alone.

“If we are to turn the tide on female homelessness, we need to listen to women and better understand their needs. For women who feel like there’s nowhere to turn, Shelter is here.

A spokesperson for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said, “These numbers reflect increased support for vulnerable groups, which is preventing thousands of women from becoming homeless. However, we are clear that temporary accommodation should only be a last resort.

“Tackling homelessness is a government priority – which is why we are spending £ 316million next year to build on the success of the Homelessness Reduction Act, which has prevented 400,000 households from becoming homeless or helped them find stable housing.

“We continue to work with councils and charities to achieve our goal of ending the sleeping streets by the end of this Parliament.”

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