Considering the LGBTQI Homeless Youth Over the Holidays
As you look back over the past year, you’ll no doubt ponder over how much has changed. With the first LGBTQI Pride Festival in the history of the Channel Islands taking place in Jersey and equal marriage laws being passed, it’s certainly a reason to celebrate!
Being part of a global community that has fought (and continues to do so) for equality, is often very trying. It’s easy to feel angry or harbour shame projected on us by others, but remembering the huge steps we’re making towards true equality every day should not be forgotten.
Not everyone has a support system of friends and family. This is unfortunately true for some of the LGBTQI youth, leaving them vulnerable and sometimes with nowhere to go. Being faced with domestic violence or conflicts because of faith, many LGBTQI youths are forced to leave home or are asked to leave.
The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) have reported that 24% of the UK homeless population are LGBTQI youths. Thankfully there are organisations such as AKT working to protect the rights and lives of the vulnerable members of our community.
By no means an exhaustive list, here’s a look at a few who operate in the UK and Channel Islands:
Albert Kennedy Trust (UK)
Founded in 1990, the AKT have been supporting the LGBTQI homeless by taking them out of danger and off the streets.
Their ‘Purple Door Project’ alongside housing organisations Circle 33, Threshold and New Charter Housing Group provides LGBTQI specific emergency safe housing for homeless youth aged 16-25 in Manchester and London. This normally consists of 21 days. During this time, their specialists work tirelessly to organise longer term accommodation with housing organisations as well as provide support and therapeutic care.
Their website has an in-depth description of the work they do and a bunch of useful information on how they can help organisations approach LGBTQI issues in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation.
Stonewall Housing (UK)
Since 1983 Stonewall Housing have been offering confidential advice to the LGBTQI homeless youth. They provide supported housing and hold regular drop-in housing advice surgeries. Recognising that the housing rights of the LGBTQI youth is something that needs to be addressed, they often lobby and campaign for improvements based on their own research.
In their Stonewall Housing Report (2014) they recorded 78 people calling in were rough sleepers and a further 143 were part of the ‘hidden homeless’, those hesitant to approach housing professionals should they not have the tools to provide appropriate support.
More information about the crucial work Stonewall Housing do on a daily basis can be found on their website.