Christina is one of the first 10 beneficiaries employed by Labre’s Hope, which will be supporting people at the end of their homelessness journey through full-time employment in hand made cosmetics.
To mark International Women’s month which celebrates the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women, we spoke to Christina who has embarked on her employment with Labre’s Hope this month.
Christina moved to Rotherham in 2017 after experiencing homelessness for nearly a year. She came to a place called Lighthouse Homes which supports women like her with stable accommodation while empowering them to overcome experiences such as domestic abuse and drug addiction.
“I just gave up on the streets and didn’t access much support other than through the church. The church supported me in the end. People were doing outreach and that’s how I found out about Lighthouse.
“After working with Crisis, I then found out the Labre’s Hope opportunity.”
According to official government statistics for England released in February 2021, 14% of those sleeping rough are women, however outreach workers have reported that more women are not being included in official figures as they often go inside when counts are taking place, seeking shelter on buses, or staying in A&E for safety.
Homeless Link says that women are more likely to have experienced abuse and trauma before experiencing homelessness and statistics from the government have shown that nearly one in six new homelessness cases in England between April and June 2021 were caused by domestic abuse.
While the Local Government Association are calling for more funding for social housing and support to help support women experiencing homelessness, Labre’s Hope will be providing housing for those in need through a partnership with South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA).
SYHA are also providing employment support through job coaching, including 1:1 Support with an Employment Specialist, and wellness action plans for staying well in the workplace.
Labre’s Hope is also partnering with national homeless charity, Crisis, which will offer IT training, courses in arts and crafts and health and wellbeing support.
Labre’s Hope is initially supporting 10 people but in the next five years we want to support 200 and expand into other regions such as Sheffield, Barnsley, and Doncaster and further afield in cities such as London or Manchester.
“I’ve never heard of an opportunity like Labre’s Hope. We’re getting a full wage while being supported to explore other paths through job coaching and one to one employment advice sessions.”
“The opportunity is so important, not only for my mental health but also for my learning. I’m not very confident in my abilities, so this will be a chance to increase my confidence and skills.
“My dream job is to be a manager of a place like the Lighthouse where I used to live, supporting vulnerable women fleeing domestic violence, drug abuse and alcoholism.
“Labre’s Hope is going to help me fulfil that goal through providing me with the opportunity to work with SYHA.”
“I’m ready to take on whatever comes my way because I know I’ve got the support and I’m really happy to have the support and I really need it. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked so this is really important for me.”