You can judge a society by how it treats it's prisoners

is a slight misquote of Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary from 1910. Its essence remains true, and by its measure, our society is badly failing women. Women make up a tiny percentage (5%) of those in prison, and more than half of those are themselves traumatised victims of domestic or child abuse (Source: Prison Reform Trust). On release from often short sentences, a recent report found six out of ten are homeless, walking out of the prison gates with only a plastic HMP bag and a £46 discharge grant. The risk to these women of violent harm, and of them reoffending is far higher than it needs to be.

The problem is particularly acute in London where the scarcity of support is truly shocking. 

Project Kali was set up by private founders working with Single Homeless Project to provide the only specialist service in London supporting this particular group of vulnerable women to leave homelessness for good. With only this annual private donation, we’re small, but have seen results better than we could have hoped for. 15 women have been met from those prison gates and put into permanent homes.  They have been supported through dedicated caseworkers with a myriad of problems: substance abuse, mental and physical health and employability. 93% of the women we work with have reduced offending with almost half stopping their offending completely. 

We know it works. Project Kali was named 'Homelessness Project of the Year' at the prestigious UK Housing Awards. And we are now asking you to support Project Kali so more women can be put into homes and on the road to a better life.

Project Kali:

The project was launched in November 2019  as  a service for women who experience homelessness and have a history of offending. This is the only project of it's kind in London.

 Of the 15 clients we are currently working with in Project Kali, 80% presented as domestic abuse survivors at referral

The project operates on the principles of the Housing First model which means that each woman we support is first, before meeting any conditions, offered an independent permanent accommodation coupled with intensive ongoing support.   

This wrap-around support provided by a dedicated case worker, gives them the best chance of gaining independence, sustaining their tenancy, and breaking the cycle of homelessness.  

Project Kali’s aims are:    

  • To ensure women with multiple complex needs, including a history of offending, can access secure housing, enabling them to address their support needs.  
  • To provide a tailored offer of support that caters for women with complex needs and a history of offending.
  • To ensure that learning is shared from this project to further increase the understanding of the issues facing women with multiple complex needs and what support provision needs to be in place to address them. 

Project Kali recognises the importance of addressing needs that can be unique to women facing homelessness.

Does Housing First work?

Traditional models of homelessness intervention have often failed to break the cycle as underlying causes are left untreated. Housing First is a proven but radically different intervention. It was pioneered in New York in the 1990s but is central to policy now in Canada, Denmark and Finland. The upfront costs are higher, but the long term outcomes and therefore societal savings are greater.

The Lankelly Chase report published in 2015 found that for individuals sitting in the SMD3 (Severe Multiple Disadvantage 3) group, experience all three relevant disadvantage domains. (i.e. ‘homelessness + offending + substance misuse’) spending was particularly high. 

Project Kali clients tend to share all of the characteristics of this group. Additionally, Battrick et al in their two-year study of the MEAM pilots, found that better coordinated interventions from statutory and voluntary agencies can reduce the cost of wider service use for people with multiple needs by up to 26.4%. 

Project Kali is a beacon of what this Housing First model can achieve, with every woman we support successfully maintaining their tenancies, and nearly all reducing or eliminating reoffending. 

You can read our 2021 mid year update here and our 2019-2020 report here. 

Fund Project Kali

We urgently need to scale up and develop Project Kali so we can reach more women experiencing homelessness and give them the support and opportunities they deserve. 

Fund Project Kali