Help homeless women rebuild shattered lives

08 March 2012

St Mungo's aims to develop the first national showcase of best practice, ideas and innovation around supporting homeless and vulnerable women, one of its clients announced today on International Women's Day.

Lucy unveils a poster for new campaign Rebuilding Shattered LivesLucy, a member of St Mungo's Outside In client representative body, unveiled a poster to mark the campaign, Rebuilding Shattered Lives, which will begin during the homelessness charity's Action Week (18-24 June).

Resident Lucy said: "I became homeless after health problems and a marriage breakdown caused by financial pressures during the recession. It's hard for anyone without a home but I now know from experience that being a homeless woman can leave you feeling very vulnerable, afraid and not knowing where to turn."

The Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign will run for 18 months, covering nine themes including childhood trauma and domestic violence, as well as educational and employment opportunities, and restoring links with families and children.

St Mungo's will use its Action Week as a springboard to call on people across the UK to showcase successful services which support homeless and vulnerable women and to stimulate debate and innovations.

Lucy continues:

"Now I'm recovering my life and working with St Mungo's, particularly with the Outside In women's group, and hoping to move on and set up my own business in the future. I would say what helps is support and a feeling of contribution, placing value on you, to make you feel valuable and included. I have met some truly inspiring and creative women since being homeless. The nature of their resilience fascinates me."

At the close of the campaign in 2014, St Mungo's will have developed the comprehensive showcase and made recommendations for future policy and service development, based on submissions to the interactive online forum.

From a recent survey of St Mungo's female residents:

  • More than a third (35%) said domestic violence had played a part in them having to sleep rough
  • Almost half (49%) are mothers
  • More than one in ten (12%) have been in care

Charles Fraser, Chief Executive of St Mungo's, said: "We want to galvanise action around supporting homeless and vulnerable women. With concerning cuts in services, our fear is that women are increasingly at risk of falling through gaps in safety nets, particularly worrying as homeless services are mainly designed for men.

"We know from our own clients that women who come to our emergency shelters, hostels or into our supported housing have a complex mix of problems. We need to look deeper and try different approaches.

"There is much good practice out there which warrants sharing more widely but we also need new approaches which fit the realities of women's lives today. Our Showcase is intended to be a crucible for new ideas which energise policy and practice."

Read more on St Mungo's Action Week (18-24 June 2012) and the Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign, see www.mungos.org/women and email to register your interest to rebuildingshatteredlives@mungos.org

ENDS

Notes to editors

More information or images, contact Gemma Hollingshead at St Mungo's on 020 8762 5570 or email gemma.hollingshead@mungos.org

  • St Mungo's opens doors for homeless people across London and the South. St Mungo's manages more than 100 housing, health and employment projects across London and the south. Each night the charity provides accommodation for over 1,700 homeless and vulnerable people.
  • St Mungo's Action Week is an annual focus for raising awareness and funds. Last year's Action Week focussed on homeless people and the ‘Big Society'.

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