Accommodation for Women (House with multiple occupancy)

Increase in female rough sleepers means increasing accommodation for women

In the past 3 years, SPEAR has noted a significant increase in the number of female rough sleepers. For many living in mixed sex hostel accommodation is unsuitable. In response to this we have created 3 Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s) as a starting point for women who have been living on the street. HMO’s support rough sleepers and also serve as a bridge between being in one of SPEAR’s hostels and living independently and sustaining tenancy.

Richmond House for female rough sleepers from all backgrounds

SPEAR opened an HMO for female rough sleepers in central Richmond accommodating 5 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 the HMO 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.

Richmond House for Women experiencing domestic violence

More recently, SPEAR set up an HMO in Richmond as a means of accommodating women who have more complex needs due to domestic violence. This houses 4 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.

Kingston House for female rough sleepers from all backgrounds

The women’s HMO in Kingston is part of the South West London Resettlement Service. This HMO accommodates 3 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.