After months of planning, our inaugural event, was a storming success. On Friday 18th January 2019, women - and a few men - gathered from across the country to discuss and raise awareness of women’s housing needs. A big thank you to all those that attended.

We had fantastic support from people in the sector and those with lived experience, running 3 workshops: Women & Design; Women, Young Girls & Homelessness, and Domestic Abuse & Housing. These workshops were to facilitate discussion and generate ideas on what the forum can seek to do to improve women’s issues in housing across those three areas. We shared factsheets on each topic, and research the National Housing Federation produced for the forum on Women, Money and Housing. Find that research here.  

Denise speech

There was a buzz unique to this event, everyone was open, friendly and eager to talk about women’s housing. Denise Fowler – co-founder of the forum - in her closing remarks pinpointed perhaps why it felt different: "No-one was here to promote themselves. No-one was here to talk about their idea and not listen to anyone else". 

Our hashtags (#WHFJan19 and #HousingIsAFeministIssue) and twitter feed BLEW UP on Friday. We now have over 700 twitter followers – we gained about 200 from Friday alone. We are going to build on this momentum. Chief executives of the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing Kate Henderson and Terrie Alafat – both of whom gave speeches – gave us the support of their organisations, telling the room that women’s housing is a priority for them. We got great feedback in the “Next Steps” session – and so the next step for the Women’s Housing Forum’s steering group will be to decide which direction to go in. Do we become a membership organisation, fundraise, seek more sponsors? 

Zaiba Qureshi, co-founder of the forum, summarised the day and the task ahead, commenting: '“The buzz and enthusiasm in the room was palpable. This feels like the start of something truly new and promising regarding housing issues that affect women. We must now harness and distil the thoughts and outputs of the day into actionable asks.”

The steering group for the forum are compiling a report to summarise the day and outline our next steps to everyone interested in the forum. Watch this space!