Look At Me Now: how the lives of three women were turned around thanks to BHT

Brighton Housing Trust has launched a new video, Look at Me Now, a film that showcases how three women who were homeless, or with mental health problems or addictions, have turned their lives around.

The campaign will help BHT to raise awareness of the issues vulnerable women face and raise much needed fund for BHT’s women-specific services and activities, such as Threshold’s Counselling Service and First Base Day Centre’s women-only sessions.

Our recent impact report Women and Homelessness, written by Cathy Bunker, reveals the shocking truth about homelessness amongst women and what they do to survive.

Women manage their homelessness in ways that are different to men. Many homeless women engage in informal strategies that keep them invisible. For example, they sofa surf, hide, engage in survival sex, form relationships to keep a roof over their head or work in the sex industry.

As a result of this report and further consultation carried out with our female clients, BHT is looking at how women access its services, the range of services we provide, where the gaps are and how we can better meet their needs.

My colleague, Nikki Homewood, who is BHT’s director of advice and support services, said: “Women make up 16% of the Brighton and Hove’s high support accommodation residents, meaning there are a total of around 45 women in high support accommodation at any one time.  We know that there are significant numbers of hidden homeless women in the city who are not accessing supported accommodation.

“Nationally homelessness is on the increase with rough sleeping having risen each year since 2010. According to Homeless Link in 2015 23% of those sleeping rough were situated in the South East of England.

“Recent statistics identify that single homeless people and rough sleepers have increasingly multiple and complex needs.  The Homeless Link Health Needs Audit identified that 86% of homeless people surveyed reported some form of mental health issue, 78% reported a physical health issue, 27% reported an alcohol issue and 41% reported an issue with drugs.

“Because of the support of BHT services, women who find themselves with nowhere else to turn, who are overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, have turned their lives around.  They are now living full and fulfilling lives. Just look at them now!”.

You can view the Look at Me Now video here.

Support can be provided online or by text to LAMN18 £10 to 70070.

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