The average life expectancy of a female rough sleeper is just 43 years. Statistically, homeless women struggle more when living on the streets than men.
Julian House is a charity offering direct support to some of the most marginalised people in society – the homeless. They do this through a range of services, including; support for those suffering domestic violence; addiction recovery; individuals with learning difficulties; work experience and training.
In 2016, the Bath based team identified a key area of need they wanted to address: an increase in the proportion of homeless women in Bath and the lack of provision to support them through multiple and complex needs.
The team felt the best way to improve support for these women would be to employ a Specialist Female Support Worker. The aim of this role was to engage with the hardest to reach individuals and increase their access to and engagement with services, supporting women to achieve their aspirations and potential.
Julian House approached St John’s in 2016 and applied for £29,740 for one year’s worth of funding to pay for the full-time Specialist Female Support Worker role. Julian House was successful with its application and was granted the award to carry out its work.
31 women directly benefited from the support of the Specialist Female Support Worker; one of those women was Michelle.
Michelle was an entrenched drug user and regular rough sleeper in Bath and had been known to Julian House since 2008. She initially fled to Bath from Wiltshire after suffering domestic abuse. She suffered with mental and physical health problems and initially refused to engage and seek support for her problems. With the support of the Julian House Specialist Female Support Worker in 2017, Michelle was able to build trust and make the most of support services available to her. Michelle is now in part-time employment having been unemployed for 10 years and has her own flat, which she is able to manage.
Helen Bedser, Development Director, at Julian House said:
Our most successful achievement has been that, as a result of this project, no woman has spent a second night out on the streets. The worker has been able to quickly build trust with vulnerable women, so they feel empowered to access the support and services they need.
The St John’s award has helped us to achieve our aims for a very vulnerable and excluded group of women, where previously services were inadequate and/or not specifically tailored to their needs.
Following the success of this project, Julian House will not only look to source further funding to keep this Bath based role going, but will look to include similar provisions in its other geographic bases.