Part 2 of my little series on homelessness and today we are going to talk about street-based sex workers and how ridiculously difficult it is for them to access to housing that is not a crack den or some boyfriend/pimps pad. Heavy stuff for this little blog I know, but work with me this week. Next week we’ll get back to design and plumbers cracks.
And if you can spare a penny, pence or yen, this is all to raise some dosh for the charity St. Mungos who I’m running a half marathon for on Sunday. You can donate here
Pretty Woman is not reality and sooo off the mark for lots of street-based sex workers.
First of all, there were no crack dens in the movie? What’s up with that? Street-based women do not normally live in a little two bed flat with electricity. Most live in crack dens, or with abusive partners/pimps. If you had to make a choice between the two, what would you choose?
This is reality
You might say, not in the UK. We are a civilised nation that has social housing.
But we don’t. We have been running short of social housing since ‘right to buy.’ While the law is there, its about as useful as tits on a nun. Just because you are homeless or vulnerable and eligible for social housing, does not mean you will be getting it. That’s reality.
If anyone in the UK ever feels the need to learn more about social housing… walk down to your local Homelessness Center. Every local authority has one. You’ll see a queue outside it from 9 am- when it opens at 10. Most people will not be assessed, somehow it seems they find a way to not take your details, because if they do, they may have a legal obligation to provide you with housing.
I once had a Housing Officer refuse to assess one of my domestic violence clients because the woman didn’t have a pen to fill in the form and the Housing Officer wouldn’t give her one. This woman had literally left her home with just her baby and the clothes on her back. She didn’t have a pair of fresh panties, let alone a pen. No pen, meant no assessment. It’s like housing is taught the alphabet …
And if you are lucky enough to get assessed and make it on the waiting list for social housing, don’t think yourself lucky. The list in my borough means you have to wait 18 years. Ha and posh restaurants and day schools think they are exclusive…. Try waiting 18 years for a home.
All of this means the most vulnerable are just out of luck. Many sex workers just return to the abuser or crack den and believe social housing just isn’t an option.
But it could be. St. Mungos has a hostel for women in London, and one for sex working women. It’s a safe place to go while they wait for social housing, and if they wish to exit sex work and get off drugs, they are supported.And if you are a sex worker this is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
But there are only a couple of these, when in reality London needs 20 of them. So donate now and help street-based sex workers have a place to sleep that isn’t a crack den.