A Whole Housing approach provides individual support to a diverse range of survivors of domestic abuse and their children to ensure they have access to safe accommodation wherever possible. This includes private rented accommodation, social housing, and other accommodation types.
The aim is to increase safety and choice for victims and their children, to reduce the use of costly emergency and/or refuge support where this is not appropriate and to ensure that survivors remain in their own homes where practical and preferred.
The lack of safe housing can have a large impact on various other aspects of a survivor’s life. For many, unstable housing can make them feel that their only option is to return to the perpetrator.
The London Women’s Housing Services Partnership (LWHSP):
The London Whole Housing Service Partnership (LWHSP) works to address and enhance the pathways of housing support for women experiencing domestic abuse – in its varied forms.
Working together to;
- Remove immediate harm,
- Provide safe and sustainable, client-focused and borough specific support around housing needs, and
- Aid recovery and resettlement for women with all levels of need.
The partnership works in Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster and across multiple housing agencies.
The Partnership is led by Advance and delivered alongside specialist domestic abuse partners Al-Hasaniya, Asian Women’s Resource Centre, Galop, Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS), and the Women’s Trust, ensuring we provide specialist support to survivors including those from black and minoritised communities, LGBTQ+ people and those with mental health needs.
The Partnership works with:
- Women with housing issues/facing homelessness.
- Women who have or are about to approach the local authorities Housing Options/Solutions.
- Women with social tenancies, living in either Council or Housing Association accommodation.
The partnership aims to:
- Co-locate in Local Authority Housing Options/Solutions teams, working directly with women requiring emergency safe accommodation.
- Provide intensive and assertive outreach on an individual basis.
- Provide long term support.
- Coordinate security improvements to be made to a victim’s home so they are more able to stay in their home safely.
- Advocate for those with caring responsibilities with Housing teams, Social Care, the Department for Work and Pensions and domestic abuse provision.
- Advocate for women from minoritised communities and LGTBQ+ people.
- Coordinate and provide specialist support with debt, financial planning, financial abuse, and benefits (which are the underlying cause of housing insecurity).
- Provide one-to-one, person-centred counselling to allow women to explore, understand and overcome their experiences of domestic abuse.
Depending on the borough, survivors will be able to access the following:
- Housing IDVAs (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate), co-located within local authority housing options teams, who will offer crisis intervention to high-risk survivors (Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Camden and Havering)
- DA Housing Advocates, who will support survivors of all risk levels with a local authority or housing association social tenancy, for up to a year (Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Harrow, Hounslow, Havering, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster)
- Community DA Housing Advocates, providing specialist and culturally specific support (all boroughs)
Housing Finance & Debt Coordinator, who will support survivors facing financial difficulty due to domestic abuse (all boroughs)
- Housing Sanctuary Coordinator, who focuses on ensuring survivor accommodation is safe and secure (all boroughs)
- Housing Carers Advocate, who will provide specialist support to survivors with caring responsibilities (all boroughs)
- Longer-term mental health support to sustain accommodation and rebuild survivors’ lives (all boroughs)