"In the last 10 years, the number of women in England who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation has increased by 88%. Currently, 75,000 women and their families are homeless and living in temporary accommodation. They make up 60% of homeless adults in temporary accommodation, compared with just 51% of adults in England."
This is a quote from Shelter's Fobbed Off report, highlighting how effective women-centred services are needed to empower women to achieve their ultimate goal of living in safe, suitable homes where they can build a stable life for them and their families.
It's something we care about.
We have an amazing Partner, Ella's, who provide urgent and long-term support for women who have survived trafficking and exploitation. Yesterday was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and it's our pleasure to partner with Ella's, providing property, ongoing support and and champion all they are doing. They offer safe house accommodation for women when they are most vulnerable, care to help them recover and move forward, and long-term community-based support to help survivors, like Emina, build safe, independent lives.
This is her story, as told by Ella's;
Emina was trafficked from Southern Europe to the UK a number of years ago, and was hurt and exploited in many different ways.
Emina lives with post traumatic stress disorder as a result of her past. The memories are so traumatic that Emina is unable to talk about those times, but she loves to talk about her life as it is now.
‘Ella’s is like a hug!’ says Emina, wrapping her arms around herself. ‘If someone needs help, they are welcome at Ella’s. It’s safe and protecting. The people, the place, the work – all of it.’
Emina moved into one of our safe houses two years ago. She cries when she remembers what it was like to feel safe for the first time in so long.
‘No-one is hurting me here. They are only protecting me.'
‘When I first came here, I felt like a queen,’ says Emina. ‘I could never have imagined that I’d be able to live in a place like this. My own room, a bathroom, a kitchen to use when I want. It was a lot to take in.'
'It is so different to my past, because no-one is hurting me here. They are only protecting me.’
Emina has come so far during her time at Ella’s. We’ve helped her access the counselling and mental health support she needs, apply for benefits, go to English language classes and more. She is now more confident and is building relationships with other people for the first time in a long time.
Emina has started to think about her goals for the future, and has taken the step of moving on from our safe house.
'Before, I was thinking only of how to survive day-to-day. But now, I can think about my future. I would like to have my own place to live, and I would like to do a job where I can help other people who need help.'
‘At Ella’s, I have been given the space and support to grow stronger. The people here truly help people like me. I want Ella’s to grow and help more women.’
We want that too. We want Ella's to grow and thrive in setting women free and empowering them to live lives in safety and independence. We have some other partners who do an incredible job supporting women and we want other women-centred services to rise up and grow and expand to help the 75,000 women and families in desperate need in England, not mentioning those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you currently serve women or are interested in starting something to house homeless women, we'd love to connect with you and talk about how we can help you succeed. Click here to get started.
Photo: Tom Price/Ella's