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Almost two-thirds of homeless adults placed in temporary accommodation in the capital are women, according to statistics compiled by London Councils.
The shocking research published for International Women’s Day shows that approximately 42,000 occupants of temporary housing in London are adult females, equating to 65 per cent, compared with 21,7000 men.
London Councils, a cross-party body which represents all 33 of the capital’s local authorities, also found that nearly 40 per cent of homeless households temporarily housed are headed by single mothers and that more than 86,000 children live in temporary dwellings in the city.
London Councils said the figures demonstrate “the shocking scale of the capital’s family homelessness crisis and the particularly severe impact on women.”
London Councils also believes women are more likely than men to experience so-called “hidden homelessness” or “sofa surfers” – for example those staying with family and friends, or squatting. These vulnerable communities are therefore not known to councils or reflected in official figures.
The body states that the high cost of housing in London is the key factor behind most homelessness cases of all kinds, but stresses that specific challenges such as escaping from domestic abuse particularly affect women and cause them to turn to their local authorities for help.
Executive Member for Housing and Planning at London Councils, Darren Rodwell said the specific challenges facing homeless women were “too often overlooked”.
He said: “London suffers the highest homelessness rates in the country, especially in terms of the hidden homelessness identified through temporary accommodation figures.
“More must be done to understand the severe impact on female Londoners and to help them avoid homelessness.”
There is a specific homelessness problem for lesbian, bisexual and trans women that will be subject to a discussion at a forthcoming Curia LGBT+ Commission inquiry session later this month.
Research conducted by LGBT+ charity, AKT in 2021 found more than six in 10 LGBTQ young people surveyed said they felt frightened or threatened by their family members before they became homeless, while more than half feared being evicted from the family home if they came out.
Homelessness Prevention Grant:
The Government said their £316 million Homelessness Prevention Grant is designed to support households in England who are homeless, or at risk of losing their home. The funding includes an additional £5.8 million to support people forced into homelessness by domestic abuse.
According to government statistics, approximately two-thirds of all homelessness in England is in London. London Councils says its members spend almost £1 billion a year on helping homeless people with their needs.