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The BHT Impact Report for 2017 identifies that the number of people recognised as rough sleeping, currently around 145 per night, falls short of the true figure because it excludes the unknown number of hidden homeless women.
Cathy interviewed 15 women who were, or had previously been homeless in Brighton and Hove in order to understand the daily issues they faced.
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You don’t ever sleep on your own. That’s too dangerous… that’s why we stay in groups with the women, we stay together like two or three of us so its better.
Sleeping next to a friend has the added benefit of being warmer, a source of comfort and two of you to find resources: food, drink, cardboard for insulation and somewhere safe to sleep.
Bianca, Report contributor
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, form or stay in relationships to keep a roof over their head.
When they sleep on the street they are creative in finding hidden places to sleep and strategies for personal safety.
I was moved by their stories, inspired by their resourcefulness and feel privileged to have met them all.
Cathy Bunker, Author of ‘Women and Homelessness’
The challenge to us is what can we do as individuals and organisations? As organisations we can look at how we work with street homeless women and make changes demanded by this report. BHT will do this.
As individuals, we can support one or more of those services in Brighton and Hove that work with homeless women, including BHT itself.
Andy Winter, BHT Chief Executive