Homelessness is traditionally associated with men. Of the more than 1,000 people surveyed sleeping rough in London on one night in 2017, just over 12 per cent were women - and we expected the same gender balance to be borne out in our own service.

In fact, the proportion of FLIC clients who are women is far higher, representing half the people who use the service. This suggests that FLIC is reaching women with multiple needs who have fallen through the gaps of other services. 

Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a prevalent issue among women with multiple needs, and around 90 per cent of our female clients have experienced, or are experiencing, DVA domestic and/or sexual violence, in addition to their other needs. Despite this, these women were not accessing specialist support.

"My ex-partner kept going to prison for beating me up and I got put into women’s refuges where there’s no support - they leave you there and everyone is drinking and taking drugs." - Lisa

Experiencing homelessness, abuse from a partner, or both simultaneously, many women feel trapped and isolated, which can, in turn, exacerbate other issues, such substance use and mental ill health.

To tackle this, we are working in partnership with housing and homelessness organisations, domestic violence and abuse services and women’s organisations to bring these sectors together to better coordinate support for vulnerable women with multiple needs.

Over the next four years, FLIC has a strategic commitment to ensuring that services for women experiencing multiple disadvantage are commissioned and delivered in a gender-informed way. We are addressing this through a number of initiatives:

The WISER Project

The WiSER Project is a specialist service for women and girls aged 16+ experiencing VAWG and multiple disadvantage.

Team Around Me

Team Around Me is an innovative case conference model designed to ensure better co-ordination and accountability in the way that agencies work with women experiencing multiple disadvantage.

A Housing First model for women  

In collaboration with Solace Women's Aid, FLIC delivered a demonstration pilot that applied the Housing First model in a gender-sensitive way and which tested out the impact of a Housing First model on women with repeat referrals to Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC). Due to its success Islington Council have now agreed to fund the project as a commissioned VAWG service until 2022, and hopefully beyond.