Our Almshouses were established over 350 years ago to provide accommodation for widows and spinsters who had fallen on hard times – who had no husband to support them! You would hope times are different now but our Trustees had a difficult decision selecting a new resident as the applications included:
- A woman who had escaped from an abusive marriage (nearly 40 years) and was trying to build a new independent life;
- A 70-year old woman facing eviction by her landlord; and
- A woman who had lived in a hostel for 5 years that was closing down.
The chosen applicant lived on the 6th floor of a Victorian house in Soho. She was the only proper resident in the 17 rooms with others being used by prostitutes or AirBnB. She paid over £1,200pcm for a tiny bedsit that was hot and noisy in summer and cold in winter. During the pandemic, she had to live, cook, sleep and work in this tiny space and she became extremely isolated and struggled with her mental health.
‘Jen’ (not her real name) received a warm welcome from the other residents as she joined our Almshouses as its newest and youngest resident. A resident of Soho for more than 25 years, she has been a musician for the past 40 years. As she settles into her newly decorated home, she says, “I am keen to become an active member of this community and to share my skills.”