Amy Winehouse's family have hailed our appeal as crucial in helping “some of the most vulnerable women in our society”.
The singer died in her Camden home in July 2011 aged 27 from alcohol poisoning, following battles with addiction and eating disorders.
Her father and stepmother, Mitch and Jane Winehouse, established the Amy Winehouse Foundation in 2011 and it has since reached more than 300,000 young people through drug prevention and support projects.
They include Amy’s Place, a Hackney-based recovery centre which provides long-term homes for young women getting over alcohol and drug addiction. It is the only full time, all-female recovery service for those aged 18 to 30 in London.
Ms Winehouse told The Independent: “There are organisations across our capital city that are doing amazing work, but by organisations working together with people who lived experience of homelessness, we can achieve so much more. That’s why the Homeless Fund and the campaign from the London Homeless Collective is such an important initiative to bring about change for some of the most vulnerable women in our society.
Amy’s father said: “Women find it much harder than men to find safe housing when trying to recover from drug addiction. They’re under-represented in temporary housing, and there is not a lot of support for them.
“We witnessed one young girl who left rehab and said there was no point in it, because afterwards she had no chance anyway. That hit us so hard because she thought she had no future. With the right opportunities, these women prove time and again that they can turn their lives around.”
A £500,000 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund is enabling Amy’s Place to run for the next three years, providing each woman with a self-contained flat, education opportunities including help accessing degree-level courses, eating disorder awareness and prevention sessions, counselling and music therapy to at least 60 Londoners who are in the early stages of recovery, but have nowhere safe to go.
Ms Winehouse added: “There’s an obvious connection between Amy and women at Amy’s Place. I guess we appreciate the fragility of recovery. Amy tried really hard and when we lost her she was at a point we thought she was going to be OK, and that wasn’t the case. We as a family just had a really overwhelming drive to make sure other families don’t go through what we went through.”
Staff at the centre are former addicts, who can provide empathy and support. The success rate of Amy’s Place residents maintaining continuous long-term abstinence has been 70 per cent. One is completing a midwifery course, while another is studying for a PhD and many are in full-time work.