Cat Glew, Women’s Strategy Manager for St Mungo’s, marks International Women’s Day by celebrating St Mungo’s women and the services that support them.
International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018 is a chance to celebrate the strengths and achievements of women. Here at St Mungo’s we’ve got a lot to celebrate.
We work with women every day – women sleeping rough, women facing homelessness and women living in our supported housing who are fighting to recover and build a future for themselves.
We work will women who have dealt with the most difficult challenges, with lives marked by violence, abuse and poverty. Women who have lost everything, and kept going.
Four in ten of our residents are women. In London alone, 1,175 women were found sleeping rough by outreach teams last year.
These are women with incredible talent and strength, and we think they are worth celebrating. Since last March, St Mungo’s women have climbed Snowdon, appeared on The One Show, and been honoured by the Royal Horticultural Society. They have spoken in front of Ministers and MPs in Parliament. They have created art and poetry. They have been parents and colleagues and friends. They have escaped the streets. They have survived.
The St Mungo’s women’s strategy is about finding and creating ways for women to recover from homelessness. Our research has shown that the causes and experiences of homelessness are different for women, so we know that the solutions for women should be different, too.
The majority of women who have slept rough have experienced violence or abuse from a partner or their family. According to figures from London’s CHAIN database, 60 per cent of women sleeping rough last year faced problems with their mental health. Safety from violence and support to deal with trauma are fundamental for women’s recovery.
So this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating our projects designed for women. St Mungo’s runs women-only projects in London and Bristol, including emergency shelters, hostels and a women’s psychotherapy service. We are also working hard to develop and improve our work with women in our mixed services.
We do this work because we know how important it is that women feel safe when they access support to end their homelessness, and that they can work with someone that understands their experience.
So this International Women’s Day, thank you to all St Mungo’s staff and volunteers supporting women to recover. And thank you to our supporters who make this work possible.
I will be in Parliament on this day with a group of St Mungo’s women, learning more about the Suffragettes and their campaign for voting rights. There’s plenty more for us to do. The government has committed to end rough sleeping, so we’ll be asking them to deliver a new rough sleeping strategy that understands and invests in women.
A strategy to end rough sleeping for women - that really would be something to celebrate.
Share this article and #PressForProgress this International Women’s Day.