St Martin’s House

St Martin’s House offers housing and a safe space to women who’ve slept rough in London.

This is needed now more than ever; many women feel unsupported by traditional homelessness services which can prevent them from accessing the help available to them. Because of this, many women become trapped in a cycle of homelessness that’s hard to escape.

The Connection is on a mission to break this cycle.

We’re doing this though a number of projects and services including advancing research into women’s experiences of homelessness and, as a result of this research, creating a weekly women-only space at our day centre.

This space brought a lot of women into our centre and helped them to access the support they desperately needed. But we found that many of these women felt unsafe in mixed-gender accommodation.

That’s why we’ve turned St Martin’s House into supported accommodation for women. While living there, residents are supported to prepare for a more independent and stable future. This can include access to therapy, employability training and more tomake sure their their next home is a permanent one.

The project has only been running for a few months but so far, residents report having a welcoming and supportive experience:

Soon, we will be building two more rooms at St. Martin’s House. This is part of our 18 Key’s project.

Why is it needed?

Sleeping rough is incredibly dangerous for anyone. But, for women, life on the streets presents additional dangers. Research suggests that 25% of women sleeping rough have experienced sexual violence.

Many will also face issues around menstrual hygiene, caring for children and further threats of abuse. These challenges often go unaddressed.

Additionally, many women will avoid homelessness services because they are sometimes perceived as a ‘male space’ and are therefore perceived as unsafe or not able to help women with their specific needs. This includes temporary accommodation, like hostels, which can be vital in escaping the streets.

Without access to suitable, supportive and safe short-term housing, many struggle to recover from homelessness for years at a time.

St. Martin’s House fills this gap by offering support designed with and for women who’ve slept rough.

See how here:

How can I help?

You can be a part of St. Martin’s House by supporting women, like Nusret, as they move on to a more hopeful future.

The best way to do this is to support the project directly by giving to 18 Keys. This would help us build two more rooms so that we can support more women sleeping rough in London.

Another way to get involved is to offer your time to the project.

We’re always looking for new training groups and activities classes for people to take part in. If you and your local business could offer this, please get in touch here.

Finally, we want more people to know about St. Martin’s House!

It’s one of the few women-only housing projects in the UK and by sharing this work, we can encourage other homelessness organisations to start centring women in their projects.

Here’s a tweet to get you started.