On International Women’s Day, Emmaus Colchester wants to highlight the number of women who face homelessness, raising awareness that the problem affects both men and women. 

During the financial year 2018-2019 Emmaus UK supported 202 female companions across the federation. This accounts for 13.2% of the total 1,529 companions supported in the same period, and is on target with government statistics for 2019, that found 14% of those sleeping rough were women. 

“Whatever the statistics tell us, we do know that female homelessness is much more hidden than for men,” says Gemma Aylesbury, retail manager at Emmaus Colchester. “Although women aren’t as visible on the streets, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem, as being homeless extends far beyond sleeping rough.” 

Women are also much more likely to hide in locations to keep themselves from being attacked, and may seek refuge in sheds, garages or even public toilets. They may also seek to keep their location secret to avoid being found by an abusive partner. 

What we describe as the ‘hidden homeless’, are those that are not sleeping on the streets. They include people who are staying with family and friends, sofa surfing, or living in unsuitable housing, such as squats. The homeless may also be staying in temporary accommodation, such as shelters, hostels, B&Bs, women’s refuges, or private and social housing. 

“Everyone’s entitled to have a home and feel safe and secure. Emmaus Colchester is here to support everyone in our community who has experienced homelessness, whether they are male or female, helping them move on to lead independent lives,” adds Gemma. 

Do you know someone who needs support out of homelessness?

Find out how Emmaus Colchester can help.