Motherhood and homelessness can sometimes be an impossible combination. Without a secure place to live, women that have lost their children may struggle to regain custody due to not having a safe and secure home.
Concrete customer Jenny* lost her home due to domestic abuse and also lost custody of her children. Jenny has shared her story below, and just how important having a home is to women and their children.
“I lost custody of my children a couple of years ago, and have felt completely out of place ever since. I miss them and think about them constantly” says Jenny.
“I came to Concrete after losing my home. I was a victim of domestic abuse so the flat I shared with the perpetrator was no longer safe for me to return to. I now live at Concrete’s female-only accommodation where we have support from staff 24/7.
Looking back, I think education is key. Parents need to talk to their children about domestic abuse and what to do if someone is becoming violent and treating you badly. I don’t think I realised what was going on because I had no idea what domestic abuse was like, and had no one to turn to.
I also think some men still have an expectation of what women should be like in a relationship. I was expected to act in a certain way and when I didn’t I was stereotyped and made to feel like a bad person. There is so much pressure on women, especially when we have children.
Before losing my home I didn’t realise just how important it was, not just to me but to my children too. Having that roof over your head and somewhere to feel safe and secure is essential. Here at Concrete the support is amazing. Having the reassurance that there is always someone here if I need anything is comforting. All of the staff are so kind and sensitive to me, they all treat me with such respect.
Looking forward, there is definitely more support needed for people like me with PTSD and the trauma of separation from children. I am now working on a support plan to help me get to a place where I can get my children back. I have such lovely memories of my own mum, and the warmth, understanding and support she gave me. That is what I want for my children and will not give up my fight to get them back!”