Housing Security

Women’s right to, access to and control over housing is a key determining factor to their safety. The lack of access to safe and affordable housing is one of the leading barriers for women fleeing violence. We work with governments, community agencies and women with lived experience of housing insecurity to improve the system.

Violence against women is one of the main causes of homelessness and housing instability among women and children. The lack of access to safe and affordable housing is one of the leading barriers for women fleeing violence. Women and their children often lose their homes when they are escaping abuse. Housing security may include access to the matrimonial home, access to affordable housing, shelter support or being able to afford to live in a safe community.

Like many things, the experience of housing and homelessness is gendered. Women’s homelessness is often less visible, and women are more likely to stay with family or friends than they are to access shelters or stay on the streets.

Women face limited housing options compounded with various forms of discrimination. There is a lack of affordable housing options and women report experiencing discrimination from landlords based on having children, being a survivor of domestic violence, their race or immigration status. Women leaving abusive relationships are often faced with debt and a poor credit rating, which is a barrier to securing housing.

We conduct research into women’s housing and homelessness. We analyze housing policies and programs in partnership with survivors, governments, scholars and community agencies, and we advocate for policies that adopt a rights-based approach and are grounded in an intersectional gender-based analysis. We believe women must have a choice and range of housing options when fleeing violence, including the right to stay in their own homes.

Policy Matters tool

The took shows the ways in which policies intersect to create barriers to housing, justice and safety for survivors.

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