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Showing posts from November, 2012

Anne Naysmith's lifestyle choice?

I’m often told that the number of women sleeping rough is underestimated because women feel especially vulnerable on the street and hide themselves away in places where they will be difficult to find. The certainty with which this is stated is in stark contrast to the hesitancy that follows when you ask for some evidence of where these women rough sleepers might be. Despite outreach teams scouring not only the familiar rough sleeping areas but also housing estates, woodland and even riding the night buses to find rough sleepers, the number of women sleeping rough in London as a proportion of the overall homeless population stands at just 12%.

Far from facing a problem of being hidden, I am concerned that women rough sleepers have a disadvantage that arises from their very visibility and prominence. There has always been a danger that we romanticise rough sleeping, viewing it as a form of rugged individualism, a lifestyle choice adopted by impressively eccentric characters making a stan…