London  Women’s Rough Sleeping Census 2023

​Women are under-represented in rough sleeping statistics and provision, yet research, lived experience and the experiences of services tell us that women are some of the most vulnerable within the rough sleeping population. October 2022 saw the first London Women’s Rough Sleeping Census, aiming to collect more comprehensive data on women experiencing rough sleeping and trial a different method of data collection.

The census is being delivered again in 2023: we will be providing further information in the coming months, via email and on this webpage.

You can find the survey link and all census week resources in the Google Drive folder here. This includes the survey and privacy notice, survey translations and contact numbers for the week.

Watch a short video to hear Maxine, a Solace volunteer, reflect on rough sleeping as a woman and why the census matters, and hear colleagues Ellie and Lucy explain how the census works.

Census dates: 25th September to 1st October 2023 

Sign up to our mailing list to make sure you receive all the latest information, including how to get involved.  

Women’s Census 2023

The census aims to bring visibility to the experiences of women who are rough sleeping and may not be represented in data, policy or services. We collect anonymised data over one week to build an understanding of women’s rough sleeping, and we use the findings to advocate for and inform change.

The census gathers data primarily through a survey conducted across a week in September with women who experience rough sleeping. We rely on and are hugely grateful to the practitioners and services across London who conduct the survey with women they work with. 

Can you or your service take part this year?

The census is designed for the participation of a wide range of services and sectors. If some of the women you support experience homelessness, it’s likely that some of them might be rough sleeping and can be included in the census. Your service might be a VAWG, health, drug and alcohol, migrant support service or a community group, or another type of support provider.

With lots of types of services involved, we can get a much more representative picture of what’s happening for women who sleep rough in London, and we can also reflect the range of expert support provided to women across London.

Find out more about the 2023 census, how to get involved, and what it entails on our information sheet below. 

Mailing list

To keep updated with all the latest information and resources about the census, including detailed guidance and training links, sign up to the mailing list.

How you can get involved 

Training and resources

Information sessions

We delivered two information sessions about the London census in August – you can watch the recorded sessions via the links below.

Outreach information session – this session is for any services who deliver outreach shifts within London and on which you sometimes meet women who are rough sleeping. Your service might deliver rough sleeping, health, drug and alcohol or another type of outreach. Watch this session to learn more about how the census will work and how your service can deliver gender-informed outreach shifts. You can find the accompanying slides here:

Watch the recorded outreach information session

Services information session – this session is for any services who sometimes work with women experiencing homelessness. You might be a homelessness, women’s, health or substance use service, or another type of service provider. Watch this session to learn more about how the census will work and what your service can do to take part. You can find the accompanying slides here:

Watch the recorded service information session

Guidance

Read our Gender-informed outreach guidance for outreach teams planning their census shift. All those taking part in the shift should be familiar with this guidance.

Read our Guidance for non-outreach services for services who will be conducting the survey with their service users. All team members taking part should be familiar with this guidance.

Other resources

Download this template services information sheet, which you can edit with your area’s local service information and provide to women you meet during census week.

The census team will upload further resources to this webpage in the lead up to the census.

Can you help to make the census happen in your borough?

Every borough has an amazing set of services who can come together to deliver an impactful census response.

Can you reach out to local services in your borough and encourage them to be involved? Can you arrange meetings with local services and lead the local response, with support from the census team?

If so, your support as a Borough Lead can help to make sure that every borough can fully participate and become informed about the women sleeping rough in their area.

If you’d like to know more about being a Borough Lead, get in touch with us at womens.census@solacewomensaid.org.

Can you help us spread the word in your sector?

Women who are rough sleeping need support from lots of different services – it may be that someone reaches a health service or migrant support service before they reach a homelessness service. We want to make sure women are included in the census, whichever support they reach first.

If you can help us by sharing census information with different services in your sector, or recommend meetings or networks we should attend and share information with, or help us to make sure the census is relevant to your sector, please get in touch.

If you’d like to know more, get in touch with us at womens.census@solacewomensaid.org.

Can you volunteer your time during census week?

Volunteers play a vital role in helping to deliver the London Women’s Rough Sleeping Census.

We are asking for volunteers who work or have worked within the homelessness or related sectors, or who might have lived experience of homelessness. This is so that we can be confident that women taking part in the census are approached by people who have understanding and sensitivity about their experiences.

Volunteers will be needed during census week (25th September – 1st October) and will be asked to help conduct surveys with women who have experienced rough sleeping. You may be asked to accompany professional outreach workers on their shifts, or to attend a day centre or another location in a borough.

We are primarily asking for women volunteers so we can make sure there is always a woman present when someone is asked to do the survey, to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible. However, if you don’t identify as a woman and would like to be involved, please get in touch: we will do our best to arrange a volunteer placement for everyone who registers their interest.

We are grateful to all volunteers for your time.

Register your interest as a volunteer with the women’s census

Making Women Count 2022

The first census was completed in October 2022. The resulting report by researchers Praxis Collab was published in March 2023 and sets out key findings and learnings from this first-of-its-kind census.

The census was planned and coordinated by Single Homeless Project, the Women’s Development Unit (Solace Women’s Aid and The Connection at St Martin’s), and St Mungo’s, with the support of London Councils, GLA, the Life Off the Streets Core Group/Women’s Workstream and DLUHC. Thank you to the many teams and practitioners who helped to make this happen.

Contact us

Eleanor Greenhalgh | womens.census@solacewomensaid.org

Phone | 07483025214

The census is delivered in collaboration between Solace Women’s Aid, SHP, St Mungo’s, London Councils and the Greater London Authority, with thanks to the many services and professionals working hard to make the census a reality. Our thanks also go to The Connection at St Martin’s and PraxisCollab for their work in designing and delivering the first census and report.