Working with women

Women experience homelessness differently to men. They are much more likely to be ‘hidden homeless’, meaning sofa surfing, living in squats, or sleeping on buses, because it’s dangerous being visible on the street. This can also make it harder to reach them and offer support.

Women experiencing homelessness also often have severe, interrelated and complex problems. These usually stem from domestic abuse and other trauma, which contribute to their homelessness and can make recovery even more challenging.

75,000 women and their families are homeless and living in temporary accommodation. Women make up 60% of homeless adults in temporary accommodation, compared with just 51% of adults in England. The latest figures show that, in England, women make up 13% of people sleeping rough.

Our approach

We aim to create an environment of physical and psychological safety for all the women we support, no matter what service they are accessing. 

Our priority is often providing a safe place to live: establishing safety creates a firm foundation for recovery from trauma. We also use our Recovery Approach, which means someone’s personal support plan is rooted in their strengths, experiences - including a practical understanding of their trauma - and goals.

We run dedicated women only services to support women who need a women only environment to feel safe and recover. We also have a wide range of tools and ways of working that support women across all of our services, including mixed provision.

You can find more detail about our approach in our Women and Homelessness summary here.

Domestic Abuse Policies and Procedures

We have a ‘survivor-centred’ approach to domestic abuse and this is cemented by our domestic abuse policies. Survivor’s views and experiences inform prioritisation and delivery of services, in line with our commitment to client involvement. We listen to survivors with a non-judgemental and believing approach.

We are pleased to have become one of the first homelessness providers to receive a DAHA accreditation. The DAHA accreditation is the UK benchmark for how housing providers should response to domestic abuse. The accreditation confirmed that the support, training and resources available to staff, and the support given to clients, ensures safe and effective responses to domestic abuse.

Around one third (31%) of our supported housing residents are women and the majority of the commissioned services we run are mixed gender. As such we have developed a Women’s Minimum Standard Audit tool, available to all of our services, both mixed and women’s only, to highlight good practice as well as identify gaps in service delivery related to supporting the specific needs of women.

Being ‘homeless’

We work with women at all stages of homelessness, including women sleeping rough, women at risk of losing their tenancy, women living in hostels and those moving into independence. Our aim is always to help them out of homelessness for good.

We ran 13 women only services in 2022. 33% of clients in our services were women and we supported 1,767 women in total.

You can find out about some of our services on the links below:

Women's Safe Space, Camden
Nova Project, Reading
Domestic Abuse Navigators