Homeless women are mostly single women who look like everyone else
45% of single women over 45 are earning the minimum wage or less and all of these are either already homeless or at risk of homelessness, as the minimum wage is no longer able to pay the lowest rentals. 330,000 women fall into this category.
Very few are mentally ill before they become homeless, and very few are sleeping on park benches. Very few are criminals. Very few are professional beggars. They are mostly perfectly ordinary white collar workers or pensioners.
Why are single women too poor to afford housing?
Women are routinely underpaid
Women’s work is increasingly casualised
Women are increasingly victim to age and gender discrimination in the workforce
Women walk away from relationships leaving assets behind
Abused women walk away from relationships with nothing
The various welfare options designed to catch everyone who falls are now shot through with serious holes, the most serious of which is that welfare payments can no longer pay for the most basic housing.
The massive inflation of house purchase prices, flows through to rentals. Pensions have remained pretty much stable, while house sale prices and the associated rents have sky-rocketed.
Homeless women have devised a range of options to keep a roof over their heads . . . but these solutions are all short-term or insecure.
Homeless women are not getting the help they need from public and social housing providers.
Most of the conversation is about old men on park benches. Some of the conversation is about young couples getting their first mortgage who are not currently homeless. Very little of the conversation is about solutions for those on low incomes and who simply need secure rental at prices they can afford.
This IS a national emergency that requires a nationally coordinated crisis response.
There is enough existing housing for everyone: it’s just not affordable.