Behind the formal statistics of homelessness in the UK is an alarming number of people living on the fringes of acceptable accommodation. This unaccounted group, a significant number of which are women, float precariously on the edges of society, taking refuge at friend's houses or squatting, often isolated from support.
Although a percentage of women do end up on the streets, many will resort to extreme measures to keep a roof over their heads; returning to abusive relationships, sex work and petty criminality often exacerbates the situation and keeps the women hidden from the support they require.
For most who find themselves homeless, both men and women, a lack of safe housing comes from a culmination of events. While many may share similar experiences, it is clear that women experiencing homelessness often suffer deeper emotional issues, requiring more complex assistance than is usually available.
For eight months, British photographer Georgina Cranston worked closely with the residents and staff at St Mungo’s hostels in London. She joined outreach teams, met women struggling with their housing situations, and documented those women who had moved on to the next stages of supported and independent housing.
"Although all of the women's stories are entirely individual, they have one thing in common: that they have survived not just one but a series of traumatic events in their lives. They have spoken of experiences such as sexual and emotional abuse, domestic violence as well as neglect and loss of children.
"My hope is that, through the exhibition, these women's stories will reach not only other women going through a similar experience but also a wider audience, including the general public as well as service providers and policy makers." Georgina Cranston
Georgina is a British photographer who specialises in documenting social and women’s rights issues. For the past 12 years she has travelled around the world on assignments for non-governmental organisations, such as UNICEF, Anti-Slavery International and ActionAid, as well as international media outlets that include The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times Magazine and Reuters. For three of those years she was based in East Africa, working across the continent.
Georgina’s work has been recognised with 12 industry awards, and has covered a diverse range of subjects including gender-based violence, slavery, reproductive health and communities living in exile. In November 2010, Georgina held a solo exhibition in London of her work from a personal project focused on women working as human mules in Congo’s goldmines; her work has also been shown in more than a dozen exhibitions worldwide.
The featured photographer for November 2012 was Georgina Cranston