Francine Wright, the founder of Nested started bringing about positive change when she decided to take to the streets of Sheffield to see how she could help the hundreds of people who found themselves in a position where they had no access to shelter and were forced to live on the streets.
Francine came to a realisation that it would take more than simply distributing essentials to improves people’s situations. The causes and events leading to rough sleeping were deep rooted and, until they were eradicated, even providing someone with a roof over their heads would not help.
Through talking to and connecting with the people living of the streets of Sheffield, Francine discovered that there was a distinct group within that community that was fleeing domestic violence. What was even more disturbing was that a considerable number of people from this were considering returning to the situation they had left, not only due to the hopelessness of their current situation but the prospect of difficulties even after being rehoused by authorities.
Francine was confused at the prospect that a survivor of domestic violence would consider returning to their previous situation after being re-housed and decided to dig deeper into the complexities surrounding this issue.
Over a period of many months, Francine spent most of her evenings and nights on the streets of Sheffield. She took food, warm and clean clothing, toiletries and essentials and sleeping bags to those in absolute need.
It didn’t take long for Francine to realise that, although sleeping on the streets was the most outwardly visible sign of being homeless, ending up in this situation wasn’t always a simple case of not being able to afford a home. The problems and issues leading to people resorting to sleeping rough ran much deeper and were complicated.
Many people who are being abused were reluctant to leave an abusive household for fear of being re-housed and left in a property which was nothing but shelter and not having any basic practical amenities to live. Survivors were sometimes given an empty property with no furniture, cooker, washing machine meaning that it was impossible for them to have an operational home.
Particularly for those fleeing with children, this left them in a situation where they were unable to have access to even the most basic functions of day to day life.