Sharon (real name not used) was sleeping rough on the streets when we met her. She didn't feel safe accessing emergency accommodation. She had fallen out with a few people and owed others money. To avoid running into them at shelters, Sharon slept on the streets.
We came across Sharon one early morning. She told us she had a severe pain. We offered to call a Doctor and she agreed to this. We asked her if she would be happier waiting somewhere warm, and Sharon came with us to a coffee shop to wait for the Doctor with some tea and cake.
The doctor arrived to assess Sharon. We were able to talk to Sharon about any support she was receiving. She had previously had a support worker but had lost touch with them. We helped Sharon reconnect with her worker.
With support now in place, Sharon was offered a bed in alternative accommodation, where she felt safe. She is now off the streets and in safe accommodation.
We need services, councils, and the government to recognise the challenges women face, and to respond with increased gender specific spaces, support and services. That way we can ensure women are truly supported, and truly counted.
For women experiencing homelessness, please know that support is out there. Our outreach workers can offer support and advice, as well as signposting to services in West Yorkshire that support women. Please get in touch with our team.