WOMEN’S HOUSING FORUM RELEASES REPORT AND NEXT STEPS FOLLOWING DEBUT PUBLIC MEETING

The Women’s Housing Forum (WHF) has today released a report summarising their inaugural public event in January, giving insight into the key issues that emerged from the day and next steps.  

The debut meeting, which took place on 18 January 2019, was a huge success and saw over 90 people from across the housing sector and women with lived experience gathering to raise awareness and explore one of the UK’s housing sector’s most pressing issues: the link between women’s housing needs and gender inequality.

The event featured keynotes from the Chartered Institute of Housing Chief Executive, Terrie Alafat, and Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation. Equally as important, the programme featured dynamic group workshops on homelessness, domestic abuse and design which generated a wealth of ideas and suggestions for the future work of the Forum from attendees.

In addition to providing a flavour of the event itself, today’s report looks to the future of the Women’s Housing Forum and the next steps that the Forum will implement which will include:  

·         Building on existing tenant representation and involvement in the Forum

·         Establishing an inclusive, tiered membership model (that is free for individuals)

·         Encouraging organisations to come forward with examples of best practice relating to domestic abuse, homelessness and design of new homes that consider the needs of women

·         Mapping and linking up with other national groups and alliances working on similar issues and sharing best practice

·         Seeking to support improvements in best practice within housing organisations and influence decision-makers

 

Commenting on the news, Co-chairs of the first Women’s Housing Forum, Denise Fowler and Zaiba Qureshi, said: “Our collective vision for the Forum as a place where everyone who cares about women’s housing can have an equal voice and come together to tackle these issues, became a reality at our inaugural event. The research gathered and presented on the day clearly resonated with people, from those in the housing sector and beyond. With two women a week killed by their current or former partner in the UK, high numbers of homeless women ‘hidden’ and under the radar of support services, and with median earnings for females in England at 34.3% less than for males - the time for putting women’s experiences on the housing agenda is now.”

Diana Humphrey, a Women’s Pioneer Housing tenant, added: “I had expected the event to be interesting. What I hadn’t expected was that the event would be exciting. Without exception, everyone was focused on trying to make our present situation better. Everyone listened. Everyone’s ideas and points of view were welcomed, listened to and noted, regardless, from CEOs to tenants and everyone between. The outcome was a tremendous energy that was almost palpable, urging forward to the next stage to promote women’s housing needs in order that their situation is improved. Everyone agreed that there was certainly a place for such a forum. My message to tenants is that our voices too are listened to as we all have valuable life experiences.”

The steering group of the Forum will also be commissioning research, further developing WHF’s digital channels and exploring options for sponsorship and fundraising events.  As well as developing some ‘asks’ for the housing sector, WHF will also continue to raise awareness of the links between women’s housing needs and gender inequality. The next public meeting of the WHF is planned for Autumn 2019.

You can download and read today’s report here.

The debut Women’s Housing Forum was kindly sponsored by Devonshire’s Solicitors LLP.

 

ENDS

 

For further information please contact Sarah Stone, Communications & Research Officer at Housing for Women via sarah.stone@h4w.co.uk  / 0203 794 4786

To get involved or enquire about WHF  speaking at your event, please visit our website www.womenshousingforum.org

Subscribe to our new mailing list here

 

Notes to Editors

About the Women’s Housing Forum

Founded in 2018, The Women’s Housing Forum was set up to research and address the challenges that women face in accessing housing, raising awareness of the link between women’s housing needs and gender inequality. 

The Forum began as a group of women working in the housing sector who having seen the inequalities women faced when accessing suitable housing, wanted to do something about it. The forum emerged as a means to address the structural inequality that women face, aiming to influence housing providers to address women’s specific needs. The founders’ vision for the forum is a place where everyone who cares about women’s housing can have an equal voice and come together to tackle these issues.

Housing is, without doubt, a feminist issue. Women’s lower average incomes, additional caring responsibilities and greater experience of domestic abuse and sexual violence have a significant impact on their ability to find and keep suitable housing. For women without a stable and secure home, accessing and succeeding in education and employment becomes all the more difficult.

Intersectionality, which considers the overlapping contexts that women face in relation to their race, sexuality, age etc. on top of being a woman, is at the heart of the work and research the forum wants to do and will be considered at every workshop.

WHF will strive to distil existing research and secure funding to commission new research into these areas to inform how social housing providers and other strategic partners can work together to tackle these issues.

Sarah Stone