With one in four adults experiencing mental health problems every year there are a huge number of people experiencing poor mental health at any one time.
And whilst mental health problems affect women and men equally, some are more common among women. Causes of mental health issues in women are often complex but being in an abusive relationship can have a significantly long-term impact on mental health. And as women are more likely to have experienced abuse, trauma and violence this can put them at risk of a range of social issues including poverty, unemployment and addiction. Without the right support or safe place to live they can then become homeless.
There is a considerable link between homelessness and mental health problems. Both homelessness and mental health charities report a high rate of mental health problems amongst people who are experiencing homelessness than the general population. And likewise, having mental health problems can trigger events leading to homelessness.
Mental health charity MIND reports that 79% of people with mental health problems said that housing issues had negatively impacted their mental health and 42% had experienced homelessness in the past.
And leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s reports that women’s homelessness is often associated with domestic violence with a third of their female residents saying that domestic abuse contributed to them becoming homeless.
When escaping violent and abusive circumstances women are primarily referred to specialist domestic abuse refuges but with a severe a lack of refuge spaces, 64% of them – over 1 million women - are turned away. Without a safe place to live women face an impossible and dangerous choice: return to their perpetrator and risk further abuse whilst waiting for a refuge space or become homeless…not much of a choice is it?
There is an absolute ‘priority need’ for safe and secure housing options for women escaping domestic abuse, experiencing poor mental health and at risk of homelessness. There are many solutions that both charities and Government will be developing over time, but Resonance strongly believe that in addition there is a social investment solution that can help.
That’s why in conjunction with Patron Capital we are launching the Women in Safe Homes (WISH) Fund as a solution to the lack of safe, affordable and secure homes for women so that they can be safe, live free from violence and abuse, improve their mental health and start to rebuild their lives.
The Fund will aim to invest directly in around 750 homes over its lifetime within communities across the UK. It will buy properties and lease them to women’s sector organizations and homelessness charities which will rent these to women in need.
And by partnering with women’s sector charities, we can ensure that women will not only be provided with safe and affordable housing but will also have access to a stable platform from which they can access mental health and specialist support services and to help them recover from trauma, health issues or addiction and create a positive future.
Find out more about the Women in Safe Homes Fund.
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