Meeting the needs of women experiencing homelessness

Many hostels and refuges in London lack the right facilities, services and spaces for women’s needs. The 18 Keys project will be a tailor-made space to help meet the many challenges facing women currently sleeping rough.

The current building

18 Keys is a £2.3m project to re-model an existing hostel in London. As St Martin-in-the-Fields Trust raises funds to develop and expand the facilities for 18 women with high support needs, our partner charity, The Connection at St Martin’s has begun the process of remodelling the existing building as a single sex facility. Refurbishment plans are underway throughout the building for up to 15 women during this first phase of development. The first residents are moving in over the winter of 2023.

A fresh start

The new building will be carefully designed for 18 women coming off the street, who are likely to have multiple complex needs. 

18 Keys will have 24-hour onsite staff and security, free wifi for accessing support online, and specialist support workers including therapists and career advisors. There will also be two safe seats available every night, for emergency admissions needing immediate overnight support. This form of care follows the ‘step down’ model, to include close support for those leaving the project. The Connection at St Martin team consider this to be a critical aspect of the project.

The spaces in 18 Keys have been visualised by award winning architects, Dow Jones. They illustrate the peaceful and calming settings that will be the backdrop to women’s rehabilitation.

18 spaces women can call their own

All 18 studio apartments will be private, homely and self-contained, with plenty of living space, storage, a kitchenette and an en-suite bathroom.

A space to be together

The money we raise will go towards converting the existing garage into a new, multi-purpose area where people can come together.

A sanctuary inside and out

The new building will have large doors opening out into a beautiful garden, with lots of natural light. Women will be able to enjoy the space and grow flowers, vegetables and herbs. It will also include a new kitchen, where women can choose to come and cook, talk and share their experiences.

18 Keys will have 24-hour onsite staff and security, free WiFi for accessing support online, and emergency shelter for women in need at times of extreme weather.

Inspiring future refuges

As well as providing vital sanctuary and support, the 18 Keys building will be a blueprint for how to accommodate women with complex, high support needs. We hope it will inspire other organisations to address the chronic shortage of women’s shelters in London and across the country.

We need your support to raise £2.3m and develop this vital sanctuary for women experiencing homelessness.

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