Statistics only tell some of the story, but by understanding the facts and figures we can begin to understand the challenges faced by women who experience homelessness and take steps toward ensuring every woman has a place to call home. 

74% of women experiencing homelessness have a physical health issue.

Rough sleeping forces the body into survival mode. The cold, hard conditions on the street can cause or contribute to many physical health conditions. People who experience homelessness often struggle to access health care and social care – further exacerbating the problem.

But physical health issues don’t start at the point of rough sleeping. The constant, daily pressure faced by those who are at risk of homelessness or in insecure and unsuitable housing can also be a contributing factor to physical wellbeing.

65% of Londoners in temporary accommodation are women.

Women make up 60% of all homeless adults in temporary accommodation in England, despite comprising 51% of the general population. The situation is even worse in London, where 65% of all homeless adults in temporary accommodation are women. And these alarming statistics are on an upward trend. The number of women living in temporary housing has nearly doubled in the last ten years.

64% of women experiencing homeless also face mental health issues.

Women who experience homelessness are at least three times more likely than women in the general population to have mental health issues. The most diagnosed issues among women experiencing homelessness are depression (45%), anxiety/phobia (29%) and post-traumatic stress disorder (18%). 

Homelessness is complex and often reflects other circumstances related to health, justice or social services, which means that some women have enduring mental ill health due to other traumas in their lives. However, many women develop mental health issues as a direct result of homelessness.

43: The average age of death for women experiencing homelessness.

The average age of death for women experiencing homelessness in the UK is just 43 years old - nearly half the average life expectancy of 83 years for women in the general population.

One in 38 lone mothers in England is homeless.

One in every 38 lone mothers in England is homeless, making this group one of the hardest hit by homelessness. Nearly one-third of lone mothers are in arrears or are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, but often mothers choose not to seek help until crisis point for fear of having their children removed. Read more about the trauma of child removal on women who experience homelessness here.

14% of recorded rough sleepers are women, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

Official statistics show 16% in London are women (slightly more than 14% figure nationwide). However, we know that women are less visible on the streets – often hiding themselves or sofa surfing to avoid dangers on the streets. This means that traditional counting and recording methods underestimate the actual number of women rough sleepers.

Last year, we led the first-ever pan-London women’s rough sleeping census. Over the course of one week, we led a coalition of partner organisations to record the number of women rough sleeping. We recorded 154 women who were rough sleeping and demonstrated that traditional methods of recognising, counting, and responding to rough sleeping does not accommodate women’s experiences. Find out more about how we’re addressing this inequality and advocating for change here


We have been working with women experiencing homelessness for almost 50 years. We are doing everything we can to help women experiencing homelessness across London overcome their unique challenges to live the life they desire. 

We’re working in partnership with leading women’s and homelessness organisations to advocate for the Government to act on gender inequality in homelessness services and open more women-only services across so women get the tailored support they need and deserve. 

No woman should have to hide. And every woman deserves to be treated with dignity, to be seen and heard, and to feel safe from harm.