In the past few years, SPEAR has noted a significant increase in the number of female rough sleepers. In response to this we have created three shared houses only for women as a starting point for women who have been living on the street. These female only houses support female rough sleepers and also serve as a bridge between being in one of SPEAR’s hostels and living independently and sustaining tenancy.
These female clients are supported by a key worker from SPEAR. Through their Key Worker, they are actively encouraged to access SPEAR’s other services such as education, training and employment, health, our service user group and the wider activities happening across SPEAR. In addition, due to the trauma some of the women have faced, (in some cases this includes domestic violence) – SPEAR offers a Key Worker who can ensure support is tailored to their needs.
SPEAR opened a shared house for female rough sleepers in central Richmond accommodating five women in 2014. The aim is to provide support through assessment to encourage them to be able to maintain a tenancy and live independently. It is aimed to house ladies with low support needs for a period of 3-6 months. Once at this house they will have key work sessions that will support them to engage in back to work programmes, address physical and/or mental health. They are supported by a Key Support Worker. Alongside this, there is one Mental Health Worker and one Domestic Violence Worker (funded posts) that can support women from this house with specialist needs, to support them to move on independently.
More recently, SPEAR set up a shared house in Richmond as a means of accommodating women who have more complex needs due to domestic violence. This houses four women, and like the existing Richmond House is also supported by the same Key Worker and the same Specialist Mental Health Worker and Specialist Domestic Violence Worker (funded post). These workers focus on building up confidence, therapy workshops and counselling.
The women’s shared house in Kingston is part of the South West London Resettlement Service. This shared house accommodates three women from a variety of different backgrounds and supports them through homelessness. This is supported by one Support Worker and overseen by a Manager who also manages other services.