Housing for Women in Coventry
Date Posted: Friday 27th September 2019
Women’s Budget Group with Coventry Women’s Partnership have written a report, Housing for Women in Coventry, which reveals that:
- Average rents in Coventry take up 41% of the average salary for women in the city, and 25% of the average salary for men.
- A woman on an average income can barely afford a one bedroom flat in Coventry. Renting a one-bed flat absorbs over a third of women’s salaries (under a quarter of men’s).
- In the West Midlands women need 11 times their annual salary to be able to afford an averagely priced house, compared to 6.8 times for men
- In Coventry, property prices are 8.5 times the median women’s salary, whereas they are only 5.6 times men’s median salary.
You can read the full report here.
Housing for Women in Coventry also reveals how changes to social security have led to a growing gap between housing benefit and actual rents.
- In Coventry, a family on housing benefit faces a shortfall of £173 for a 1-bedroom property; £200 for a 2-bedroom property and £210 for a 3-bedroom property.
- In England, reforms since 2012 have broken the link between rent and housing benefit levels, with 90% of private renters on housing benefit in 2015 facing shortfalls. 
- Women in England make up 60% of housing benefit claimants and so are being disproportionately affected by these cuts.
- Universal Credit is also having a negative impact. The five-week wait period on application is leaving many people in rent arrears: tenants on Universal Credit are six times more likely to fall behind on rent than other benefit claimants. 
- These benefit cuts and changes, accompanied by a severe shortage of social and affordable housing, are leading to increasing numbers of evictions and homelessness. 
Women and Homelessness
- Coventry has seen an exponential rise of homelessness in recent years. According to council staff, the council supported 350 families in the previous year, a jump from only 40 just four years ago.
- Refuge provision in Coventry for victims of violence and abuse is insufficient. Of the 350 families supported by the council in the previous year, 15% (about 45) were reported as homeless due to domestic abuse. The actual number may be higher as women tend to stay with friends or family before reporting themselves as homeless to statutory services.
- In England, the vast majority of people recorded sleeping rough are men (84%). However, women rough sleepers face specific challenges and their experience is very often linked to abuse, trauma and violence. They are less likely to access mainstream services and be visible on the streets.
- In England, the majority of statutory homeless people are women (67%) and single mothers are two-thirds (66%) of all statutory homeless families with children (they are just one quarter of all families with dependent children).
The report is published as part of a joint project with Coventry Women’s Partnership and a follow up from the national Women’s Budget Group report A Home of Her Own – housing and women.
Read the press release here.