Simon on the Streets, a local West Yorkshire charity that aims to support the homeless and vulnerable on the streets, has been awarded £29,358 from Homeless Link’s Ending Women’s Homelessness grants programme, funded by the Government’s Tampon Tax Fund.

Simon on the Streets is one of 29 charities across England, working with women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to receive a grant. Almost 200 organisations applied for a portion of the £1.85 million pot.

Women’s homelessness is a significant national issue with many women having experienced violence and abuse contributing to their homelessness. Over 640 women sleep on our streets every night and thousands more do not have access to a safe or suitable home.

Homeless Link’s grants programme aims to help end women’s homelessness by building capacity for gender- and trauma-informed services and developing partnerships between homelessness and specialist women’s sector charities.

Simon on the Streets will use the funding to recruit two new women’s outreach workers, one full time and one part-time, with the aim to reduce the numbers of women living on the streets, support those in temporary accommodation and engage with women who are ‘hidden homeless’ by delivering gender and trauma-informed assertive outreach.

Through partnership work with St Anne’s Community centre, Simon on the Streets will support the women accessing the new Safe Space women-only emergency accommodation to address their needs both emotionally and practically.

The grantees were chosen by a cross-sector, all-woman panel, including women with lived experience of homelessness.

Simon on the Streets CEO, Eric Richardson said:

“We have delivered outreach in the city for over 20 years and have seen an increase in the number of women who struggle to find gender specific support while living on the streets or those ‘hidden homeless women’ living in dangerous and exploitative situations just to keep a rough over their head.

“This funding is fantastic news as it will ensure that we have gender-specific workers, using a trauma-informed approach to engage and support the women both emotionally and practically.”

Homeless Link’s Assistant Director of Practice and Partnerships, Tasmin Maitland adds:

“Women’s homelessness is a growing crisis. Despite this, women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are one of the most marginalised groups in our society and the specialist support that they need is often lacking or non-existent.

“We are delighted to be able to award Simon on the Streets a grant that will have a real impact on the support that women experiencing homelessness in Leeds receive, and ultimately contribute to ending women’s homelessness for good.”