This week we’re giving a huge shoutout to our incredible 24/7 female service team in Stoke-on-Trent.
Since launching in 2020, the service has given vulnerable women a safe place to call home and access to tailored support, both in-house and from local partners.
This includes mental health and wellbeing support, independent living skills, tenancy skills support, recovery programmes and peer-to-peer guidance from mentors with lived experience.
Hidden homelessness is when people stay in dangerous situations, such as with an abusive partner, to avoid sleeping rough on the streets. These people are hidden from the public, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Our female service supports women impacted by hidden homelessness and gives them a safe place to stay, meaning they don’t have to choose between staying in dangerous situations or sleeping rough.
The service has also helped to highlight the need for more services like this and made it possible for women to come forward now that support is available.
Service Manager Mariana explained: “The aim of our female service is to accommodate women impacted by homelessness and provide them with the support they need.
“There is a huge need for developing more of these services across the city, especially ones that are both gender and trauma informed. This is something that we offer and deliver at our female service.”
Deputy Manager Modupe Blight added: “We take in the most complex cases. To know that we welcome women when others feel like they can’t gives me so much pride.
“The support that we provide is person-centred, but we never rush anyone. It’s not us saying ‘you’ve got to do this’. Instead, we accept people for who they are and then ask – where do we go from here?”
The female scheme, which currently houses and supports 12 women, is part of Destination:Home. This is a Concrete-led service, commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, that works in partnership with local organisations to deliver 24/7 support to women, men and young people in housing crisis.
These partners are Adullam Homes, North Staffs Mind, Changes: Health and Wellbeing and Walk Ministries.
“No individual or single service can deliver all of the support and resolve all of the issues that people have in their lives,” explained Mariana.
“That’s why partnership working across different agencies and services is an essential thing for us.”
Recently the service supported two women to move on to more permanent and suitable accommodation.
Mariana said: “One is continuing her journey with Concrete in a more independent single bed unit within the community, while another has moved on to another provider in a different area.
“This has been achieved thanks to the determination, dedication, stamina and ability of our Duty Practitioners to engage and motivate customers.
“When I think about the achievements of my team, my heart just bursts with pride. They have some amazing ways of working with women who have been traumatised and entrenched in homelessness and chaotic lifestyles for decades.”