News: Women’s homelessness insights presented by Churchill Fellows

Published: 22 Mar 2021

News: Women’s homelessness insights presented by Churchill Fellows

International insights on women’s homelessness were presented by Churchill Fellows at an online conference in March.

Women’s rough sleeping rose by 28% between 2016 and 2017, whereas overall rates of rough sleeping rose by 15% over the same period, according to research from the University of York.

Developed in partnership between Crisis, Groundswell and Solace Peer Support, with funding from WCMT, the Women’s Homelessness Matters conference addressed issues affecting women experiencing homelessness.

Fellows Emma Arran (CF 2016), Rachel Brennan (CF 2017) and Sarah Walters (CF 2017) shared learnings from their collective Fellowships, which explored:

  • The effects of peer-based support for socially marginalised pregnant women, in the USA and Australia (Emma Arran, Director of the women’s charity Solace Peer Support).
  • Practices aimed at improving access to high quality health care for homeless people, in Norway and the USA (Rachel Brennan, health coordinator at the homeless charity Groundswell).
  • Re-housing solutions for vulnerable homeless women, in Canada and the USA (Sarah Walters, best practice manager at the homeless charity Crisis).

Across three days, Fellows presented best practice in addressing issues relating to women’s housing, maternity services and health provision. During the series of events, Fellows were joined by international experts and individuals with lived experience of homelessness.

Emma said: “It is essential that the voices of women with lived experience of homelessness are heard. Their narratives should be central to support provision, service and policy development. These insights are invaluable in enabling effective support, accessible services and informed policy.”

Rachel added: “Women experiencing homelessness are underrepresented in the total number of people experiencing homelessness. Therefore, services are not only not designed for them, but they are designed in ways that can make them feel unsafe and excluded.”

The series presented evidence-based solutions to the challenges faced by women who are at risk or who are facing homelessness. More than 1,000 people registered for the events, including policy-makers, charity workers and keyworkers.

Sarah said: “My hope is that the themes and experiences shared at these events will provoke some thinking about a fresh approach to ending homelessness for women and encourage understanding, innovation and adaptation in services.”

A recording of the Women’s Homelessness Matters conference is available on request. Get in touch with [email protected] for more information. A copy of the Zine can also be downloaded here.

If you are a Fellow and are interested in organising a similar event, you can apply for funding and assistance from WCMT

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