Women’s Housing Forum reveals next steps

The debut meeting saw over ninety people from the sector explore the link between housing and gender inequality.

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Following the success of a public meeting in January, the Women’s Housing Forum (WHF) has  released a report summarising the day, providing insight into the key issues that emerged.

Over ninety people from across the sector and women with lived experience are said to have attended the event, exploring the link between women’s housing needs and gender inequality.

Sponsored by Devonshire’s Solicitors LLP, the event featured keynotes from the Chartered Institute of Housing CEO, Terrie Alafat, and Kate Henderson, CEO of the National Housing Federation.

The programme also featured group workshops on homelessness, domestic abuse and design, said to generate a wealth of ideas and suggestions for the future work of the Forum from attendees.

The report also looks to the future of the Women’s Housing Forum and the next steps that the Forum will implement. These include:

  • Building on existing tenant representation and involvement in the Forum
  • Establishing an inclusive, tiered membership model (that is free for individuals)
  • Encouraging organisations to come forward with examples of best practice relating to domestic abuse, homelessness and design of new homes that consider the needs of women
  • Mapping and linking up with other national groups and alliances working on similar issues and sharing best practice
  • Seeking to support improvements in best practice within housing organisations and influence decision-makers

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As well as developing some ‘asks’ for the housing sector, WHF have said that they will continue to raise awareness of the links between women’s housing needs and gender inequality, with the next public meeting of the WHF planned for Autumn 2019.

Commenting on the news, Co-Chairs Denise Fowler and Zaiba Qureshi highlighted the collective vision for the Forum, acting as a place where everyone who cares about women’s housing can have an equal voice to tackle the sectors “most pressing issues.”

The research on the day is said to have “clearly resonated”, with statistics revealing that two women a week are killed by their current or former partner in the UK.

Diana Humphrey, a Women’s Pioneer Housing tenant, said: “I had expected the event to be interesting. What I hadn’t expected was that the event would be exciting.

“Without exception, everyone was focused on trying to make our present situation better. Everyone listened. Everyone’s ideas and points of view were welcomed, listened to and noted, regardless, from CEOs to tenants and everyone between.

She added: “The outcome was a tremendous energy that was almost palpable, urging forward to the next stage to promote women’s housing needs in order that their situation is improved.

“Everyone agreed that there was certainly a place for such a forum. My message to tenants is that our voices too are listened to as we all have valuable life experiences.”

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