by Emily Horner
West Yorkshire-based homelessness charity, Simon on the Streets, has been awarded a grant from the Government’s Tampon Tax to help end women’s homelessness.
They are one of 29 charities across England to have received this grant.
It is using this funding to build services and develop partnerships between women’s homelessness and specialist women’s sector charities.
It will recruit two women’s outreach workers to help tackle this goal of ending women’s homelessness.
The outreach workers will support both women on the streets and in temporary accommodation.
According to the charity, during the last quarter, 363 women were presented as homeless to Leeds housing services, but many others are harder to find to give support to.
Fiona Hobson, admin, communications and volunteer coordinator for Simon on the Streets told Yorkshire Voice: “Many women who experience homelessness are often ‘hidden’, meaning we do not see them on the streets.
“Many will sleep on sofas, stay in squats or live in vulnerable conditions in order to avoid sleeping on the streets.”
The outreach workers will support the women in finding more stable and safe accommodation, and provide support with mental health, drug or alcohol problems.
They will deliver outreach in early mornings and evenings around Leeds.
Fiona said: “Women who are homeless face risks of sexual and physical assault, violence and rape – 52% of women who are homeless have been threatened or intimated with violence, compared to 42% of men.
“To avoid the streets, women may end up in vulnerable positions, such as being offered rent in exchange for sexual services.”
Eric Richardson, CEO of Simon on the Streets added: “This funding is fantastic news as it will ensure that we have gender specific workers, using a trauma-informed approach to engage and support the women both emotionally and practically.”
The charity is partnering with St Anne’s Community Centre to help them in accessing women-only emergency accommodation, so that they can address both their emotional and practical needs in a safe space.
The charity received this £29,358 funding from Homeless Link, as part of their Women’s Homelessness grants programme, which is funded by the Government’s Tampon Tax Fund.
Tamsin Maitland, Homeless Link’s assistant director of practice and partnerships said: “Women’s homelessness is a growing crisis.
“Despite this, women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are one of the most marginalised groups in our society and the specialist support that they need is often lacking or non-existent.”