Mothers Experiencing Homelessness
AS WE CELEBRATE Mother’s Day this week, we want to acknowledge the mums without a place to call their own, who are so often forgotten, and draw attention to the combined experiences of homelessness and motherhood. We also praise the outstanding care and love that these mothers in particular continue to provide for their children while living with homelessness, and we think it is important to understand the nature of the struggle that these mums must face day in, day out. So, in order to raise awareness of the extremely difficult circumstances that the thousands across the country find themselves in, I will be focusing on the issue of the homelessness in regard to being a mother in this week’s blog.
This mothering Sunday, tens of thousands of mums will be celebrated for being caregivers, role models and loving parents, within the confines of their temporary accommodation, shelter or hostel. The latest government figures reported that 96,000 households were living in temporary accommodation, 2/3rds of which consisted of families with children, and of these families, 42% were single mothers. 86% of people living in temporary accommodation were within London, meaning that in the capital, 16 in every 1000 households were experiencing homelessness. If you shop in a large supermarket, or visit a park on a sunny day, there is a good chance you will bump shoulders with a mother experiencing this kind of systemic hardship.
59,130 households or 61.6% [of 96,000] included dependent children, with a total of 121,680 dependent children living in temporary accommodation – from the Department for levelling up, housing & communities’ Statutory Homelessness July to September (Q3) 2021: England report.
Homelessness Is An Issue That Disproportionately Affects Single Mothers.
An article published in The Guardian reports that the number of single mothers living in temporary accommodation has risen by 88% over the last decade, which according to government data, equates to roughly 40,000 mums across the country. Due to the gender/job divide, women and mums on low incomes are also more likely to experience homelessness, with further research from Shelter showing that women are 36% more likely to fall into rent arrears than men. Today, an increasing number of families stand on the brink of homelessness, and it is a sad reality that many mums have to make a difficult choice between staying in potentially abusive situations, but remaining more financially stable, or leaving these relationships, which often means having to face homelessness as a single mother.
What Does It Mean To Raise A Family While Living In Temporary Accommodation?
A report from the homelessness charity Shelter describes what it is like, from the perspective of a mother. After interviewing many families living in temporary accommodation, it found “Lots of families did not have even the basics of a bed for each family member. Five of the families were forced to share beds. This led to poor nights’ sleep and a lack of privacy for older children.” And also, that “some lone mothers said they did not seek help as they were worried about having their children removed.”
Poly Neate, CEO of Shelter, has also said, “Living in temporary accommodation can be a nightmare, especially when you have children with you; there’s often nowhere for them to play or do their homework. Through our services, we talk to mothers who are worried there is no space in their cramped, dirty room for their baby to learn to crawl.”
This mothering Sunday, we at Pivot would like to take the opportunity to distinguish and elevate the mothers in the world who are currently experiencing homelessness. We wish to express our support, solidarity, and appreciation for each and every one of these extraordinary parents. Being a Mum may be the best role in the world for some, but it is always arduous work, made even more so by the added weight of homelessness, a problem that naturally creates anxiety and fear for all mothers who have to go through it. They are responsible for the wellbeing of their little ones, and often have to put on a brave face, all whilst they battle against circumstances that feel utterly overwhelming. All the members of the Pivot team want to say that we see you, acknowledge your fight and admire what you do every single day to continue to be someone we cherish: Mum.
If you would like to help support our social enterprise and mothers experiencing homelessness, please consider choosing an item from our website as your Mother’s Day gift this year. Proceeds of every sale will go towards providing our jewellery making programmes for people, including mums, living in temporary accommodation, and whatever item you select from us will be with you before the end of the week, as for this week only, we are offering free first-class shipping!
With love from the Pivot team to all of you who grant us your continual support,
Happy Mother’s Day x