Fulfilling Lives in Islington and Camden

Fulfilling Lives in Islington & Camden (FLIC) is an eight-year Lottery funded learning programme closing in May 2022, designed to support people experiencing multiple disadvantage and affect system change to improve the experience and outcomes for people accessing services.

Too often the voices of people experiencing multiple disadvantage aren't heard. Putting clients at the centre of everything we do is key to our work. Our support service is intensive, trauma-informed and led by the experiences and insights of our clients.

We work in partnership with statutory and voluntary agencies across both boroughs to improve services for people with multiple needs and drive systemic change, influencing how services are designed and delivered.

"Walking around all night, going on buses, sleeping in hospitals... sleeping in woods on my own." -FLIC Client. 

Launched today as part of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a new report fromFulfilling Lives in Islington & Camden (FLIC, part of Single Homeless Project),Joanne Bretherton and Nicholas Pleace, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York, and London Borough of Camden reveals that women's homelessness occurs at a far greater scale than is generallyrecognisedand that systemic failures leave women in a state of survival. 

Drawing on existing and previously unexplored data as well as lived experiences, the report makes recommendations for system change in the way homelessness and domestic abuse services are designed, delivered, commissioned and integrated - in Camden, across London, and nationally.  

The report,Women’s Homelessness inCamden: Improving Data, Strategy, and Outcomeshighlights these key findings: 

Key findings  

  • Women are homeless in greater numbers than has previously been assumed and are more likely to experience hidden homelessness. 
  • Women’s experiences are very distinct from those of men. 
  • There has been a failure torecognise, count andrespond to women’s homelessness effectively. 
  • Lone adult homelessness is as likely to be female as male – women are just less visible. 
  • Domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence are near universal experiences for women who experience homelessness. 

 

“Women experiencing homelessness are living in a state of survival, often without access to services and in high-risk environments where they are frequently subjected to violence and abuse”.-The University of York. 

The current system is shaped in a way that overlooks women's homelessness - the definition isn’t inclusive of all types of homelessness, counting focuses on environments which women often avoid, and research has previously oversampled men. This results in women living in a state of survival, often without access to services and in high-risk environments where they are frequently subjected to violence and abuse. 

 

Recommendations 
Women's strategy is a necessity, not an afterthought 
An effective response to women’s homelessness centres on ensuring recognition and understanding of women’s needs, and in being prepared to create strategy and adapt systems to support these needs (organisational, local authority and national level). 

The intersection of domestic abuse and homelessness needs to be fullyrecognised 
Homelessness service models, like Housing First, will require some modification if they are to properly recognise, respect and respond to women’s needs. The evidence to date points to services designed, built and run by women being likely to be the most effective. 

Coordination between domestic abuse and homelessness services at all levels must be highly developed if an effective strategy for women’s homelessness is to be built. 

Find the full set of recommendations and findings, alongside insights of lived experience and data on women’s homelessness in the report here. 

Our hopes for this research 
This research may not be surprising to many professionals working with women experiencing homelessness. However, with concrete data and the voices of lived experiences, we hope this report makes the case for a rethink into the definition of homelessness and the retrieval of data, the shape and scope of services and demonstrates the need for a coordinated approach from homelessness and domestic abuse services. 

“The women we support report feeling judged and stigmatized when experiencing homelessness – we need to raise awareness of the fact that women experiencing homelessness have almost always been subjected to violence and abuse, repeated trauma, societal inequality – and that they are survivors, who need support which fully understands and responds to their experiences.” -Lucy Campbell, Operational Development Manager, FLIC. 

 

Thank you to the women who shared their experiences, whose insights and recommendations will influence homelessness support and provision for others. 

Catch-up on the webinar from our launch event below...