Homes and support for Leeds’ homeless women

Homes and support for Leeds’ homeless women

HOMELESS women in Leeds with a history of multiple complex needs are being given the chance of a home of their own and support to change their lives around.

Turning Lives Around has joined forces with Leeds Action to Create Homes (LATCH) to launch a new Housing First initiative catering solely for women.

Funded for three years by the Henry Smith Charity, the scheme will provide accommodation plus the help and encouragement of a dedicated support worker for ten women who are homeless and have other complex needs such as a history of drug or alcohol abuse, domestic or sexual violence, offending plus physical or mental health issues. Access to therapeutic support and counselling will also form an integral part of the service.

This is the second time TLA has partnered up with another organisation to deliver a Housing First initiative. In 2018 they joined forces with Basis Yorkshire to pioneer the first Housing First project in the UK solely for homeless female on street sex workers.

Funded by the Tudor Trust, this initial scheme has provided six homes plus ongoing support enabling eight women to take on tenancies with six sustaining them for more than 12 months.

Janet Spencer, TLA’s Chief Executive, said the number of women sleeping rough on the streets of Leeds has grown significantly in recent years and this new Housing First scheme is very much needed to bridge the gap in existing local provision.

“Women often become homeless initially because of substance abuse, domestic violence or problems at home which in turn can lead to offending and have an impact on their physical and mental health. Once caught up in this cycle it’s hard to break free,” she explained.

“Housing First is about giving them a chance and a choice. It gives them a fully furnished secure home in the area of their choice in Leeds plus the backing – if they choose to take it up – of a support worker who can help them overcome health and wellbeing problems and enable them to turn their lives around through training, education or employment opportunities.”

James Hartley, LATCH CEO, said: "We are excited to be working on this innovative project with TLA. We know that the need for housing is there and this will provide secure housing and support for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised women in Leeds, giving them the opportunity for real change."

Janet added: “Our first Housing First initiative has been extremely successful enabling six women to move away from living and working on the streets to enjoy independent, more fulfilling lives. We look forward to giving more women the chance to get their lives back on track with this new scheme.”