Spotlight on Women’s Aid Housing First

This month we shine the spotlight on our colleagues at Women’s Aid East & Mid Lothian and their exciting new Housing First Project ‘STRENGTH’. Read on to meet the team and find out more.

Hi, Kirsty and Lauren here! We’re here to explain a little bit about Women’s Aid East & Mid Lothian (WAEML) new Housing First Project: STRENGTH. A bit of background on us – Kirsty has worked at WAEML for the past 2 years in the East Lothian Refuge Team and Lauren joined WAEML in September entering straight into the Housing First Team after working in Homeless Young Person Services for the last 7 years.

STRENGTH aims to support the most marginalised women in our community who have experienced domestic abuse and who face isolation due to alcohol and drug use paired with mental health difficulties. The women we work with are homeless or at high risk of homelessness. The ideology behind Housing First is what it says on the tin; accommodate women in their own secure tenancy first, and then build a package of support around her. 

The basic human right of safe accommodation is addressed first and then Kirsty and Lauren work with the woman to support her towards stability in other areas of her life. This might be, for example, addressing any drug use with specialised services or supporting her to engage with the NHS to address her mental health needs. Support ends when the woman we support feels she no longer needs it and in general, we are in touch with the women we support most days. The aim, long term, is tenancy sustainment for each of our women and using a person centred/trauma informed approach to support each woman towards the goals she would like to achieve.

For further information please contact WAEML service manager, Yvonne Irvine

If you or a woman you know is being subjected to domestic abuse, support is available from Women’s Aid East and Midlothian 013 561 5800 or

Alternatively, you can contact the Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpine open 24/7 on 0800 027 1234

Contact us 0131 653 3977 or