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6 in 10 homeless people in temporary accommodation are women

60% of all homeless adults living in temporary accommodation in England are women, despite only making up 51% of the general population, new analysis by Shelter shows.

In the past decade, the number of homeless women living in temporary accommodation has almost doubled from 40,030 in 2011 to 75,410 today – a rise of 88%.

To find out why so many women are becoming homeless, Shelter commissioned new YouGov polling, which showed the impact of affordability issues on women.

The poll found that of those with housing costs, women are 36% more likely than men to be in arrears or constantly struggling to afford their housing costs, equating to 4.7m women.

woman leaning against a wall in dim hallway

Lone mothers face the most acute affordability issues, with almost 1 in 3 in arrears or constantly struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

The survey also found that 69% of women who rent privately worry they wouldn’t be able to afford anywhere decent to live if their relationship broke down.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: ‘Women are bearing the brunt of our escalating housing crisis, and they are being failed at every turn. No mother should have to choose between buying food or paying her rent. No woman should have to stay with her abuser or face the streets.

‘The hike in living costs and cuts to Universal Credit mean it’s only going to get tougher for thousands of women barely hanging on to their homes. It’s appalling women are being fobbed off by professionals who are supposed to help them, and it’s no wonder they feel scared and alone.

‘If we’re going to turn back the tide on women’s homelessness, we need to listen to women and better understand their needs. For the women who feel like there’s nowhere to turn, Shelter is here. Our emergency helpline is open 365 days a year so no one has to face homelessness alone.’

The full report, titled Fobbed Off, can be accessed here.

In related news, women’s homelessness occurs at a far greater scale than is recognised, finds researchers from the University of York.

Photo by Eric Ward

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