Here at Concrete we are changing the present and the futures of women without a plan, without a voice and without a home.
Our brand-new female only accommodation in Stoke-on-Trent not only gives women a safe place to call home but a community of strong survivors, ready to take control of their future.
This female centred approach and holistic outlook is the reason why women are choosing to stay with us far longer than anywhere else. Looking back at the ‘Everybody In’ project, a partnership with the local authority to support rough sleepers into emergency accommodation during COVID, the statistics speak for themselves. Before the project, only 25-30% of our homelessness service was used by women with the national average just 16%. During the project, we managed to build on already positive results with 45% women in our emergency accommodation and 39% of those supported outside of the project.
So, why did this happen? We created an environment that we ourselves would be happy to live in. The ‘Everybody In’ project was based at a local and modern three-star hotel, with 24/7 support available. We created a place where women could feel empowered and most importantly safe. No hostels, no shared bathrooms, a comfortable double room with an ensuite and staff on hand if needed.
Empowering women is incredibly important to us too. We see a person, not a label. We don’t judge or stereotype people, we work hard to see their true colours. On arrival, we didn’t tell people what they needed and how they should feel, we asked. This empowerment was a major theme across all of our feedback. People felt heard and were given a choice and a voice.
At Concrete, we choose to challenge, not only on International Women’s Day, but every day. We are fighting to change the narrative for women impacted by homelessness locally.
Following the success of the ‘Everybody In’ project and to continue this vital support for women, in October 2020 we opened a female-only accommodation in partnership the local authority. The scheme has 18 high-quality bedsits in which each resident has their own facilities and support from staff if needed.
Gemma Finn, Operations Manager at Concrete explains: “The female-only accommodation has already proved life-changing to many women. Some of these women have suffered incredible trauma, not only physical but emotional too.
“I spotted a quote in one of the communal areas earlier this week; ‘it’s not just what you have been, it’s what you can be. I thought that was perfect. These women have been through so much, yet still feel excited about their future. They’re strong women. They’re survivors.”
We have also supported women across our Destination: Home service. In partnership with Adullam Homes, North Staffs Mind, Changes: Health and Wellbeing and Walk Ministries, Destination: Home has supported 97 women since launching in October 2020. 27 of which have lived at the female-only accommodation. Despite many having a long history of rough sleeping and homelessness cycles, the majority have remained and 40% of the service is now female.
Find out more about Destination: Home via our website: www.thisisconcrete.org.uk/destinationhome