Providing Homes for Women

Key stats

  • 66%

    of homeless adults living in temporary accommodation are women

  • 60%

    of referrals to refuge are turned away and the proportion is even higher for BME women

  • 32%

    of homeless women say domestic abuse contributed to their homelessness

  • The challenge

    Organisations supporting women in challenging circumstances, such as survivors of domestic abuse, or those struggling with addiction are often held back by lack of suitable and affordable housing. Long waiting lists for council homes, increasingly unaffordable private rented sector and widespread landlord discrimination remain key barriers. The high cost of investing in housing is a significant challenge for organisations that are seeking to purchase homes directly.

  • The approach

    As part of our work addressing the housing needs of vulnerable people, we decided to explore ways to address the specific housing needs of women in challenging circumstances in partnership with housing providers and experts in the sector. We surveyed 60 women’s sector organisations to help us understand the issue more clearly. Their responses revealed growing interest among frontline organisations for leasing property as emergency and move-on accommodation. This feedback helped us to co-develop the Women In Safe Homes Fund with Resonance and Patron Capital which, subject to approval from our Investment Committee, will acquire properties and lease them to providers of housing and support, such as refuges and women’s centres.

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    Our decision to approach part of our housing work with a gender lens came after we engaged with the sector. It became clear that women are often part of the hidden homelessness, and there are strong links to domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women and girls.

    Anna Shiel.jpg

    Anna Shiel

    Head of Origination at Big Society Capital
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    We’re excited to be working with Resonance and Patron Capital Partners on the Fund, and would like to thank our Steering Group of sector experts, whose specialist knowledge was crucial in its development.

    Anna Shiel.jpg

    Anna Shiel

    Head of Origination at Big Society Capital
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    We believe the provision of housing is an important step in the work against domestic violence, and other issues with a gender lens, and look forward to continuing our work in this crucial space.

    Anna Shiel.jpg

    Anna Shiel

    Head of Origination at Big Society Capital

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