A report by LGBTQ+ Youth homelessness charity AKT says the government and local authorities need to do more to support homeless young people from LGBTQ+ backgrounds.
The charity which was founded in Greater Manchester in 1989 say 24% of homeless young people identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
From 2019 to 2020 there was a 30% increase in new referrals to their services in the North West region and that number has risen dramatically during the pandemic.
They say 77% of homeless young people believe coming out to their family was the main factor in becoming homeless.
AKT surveyed 161 LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 who experienced any form of homelessness in the last five years in the UK.
It’s difficult to be the queer person and also the homeless person.
The report covered a range of subjects but here are some of the headlines.
Less than half of LGBTQ+ young people were aware of housing support services the last time they experienced homelessness.
Almost one quarter weren’t aware of any support services available to them.
Over half of LGBTQ+ young people have faced some form of discrimination or harassment while accessing services.
Only a third of LGBTQ+ young people sought support from their local authority whenthey were homeless. Instead, many turned to their friends for support with low numbers seeking support from their family.
Three in 10 LGBTQ+ young people felt like the services they accessed did not understand what to support them with, because of their LGBTQ+ identity.
The report highlighted that LGBTQ+ people of colour were disproportionality affected by a lot of the findings.
AKT have made some recommendations that they think might help to support young homeless people from LGBTQ+ backgrounds.
This includes more investment in emergency housing (such as akt’s Purple Door) and long-term housing options, by increasing the supply of social housing and ensuring shared accommodation is affordable for LGBTQ+ young people.
They say the government should Consider the particular vulnerabilities of LGBTQ+ young people (including people of colour, trans and disabled LGBTQ+ young people) and their experiences of domestic abuse, familial abuse, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic harassment, mental and physical harm when establishing priority need and determining intentional homelessness.
Local authorities should conduct an audit to identify why so many LGBTQ+ young people don’t turn to their local authority for support when facing homelessness.
You can read the Report here.
If you or anyone you know is from an LGBTQ+ background aged 16-25 and is homeless, help and support is available for your local council and from AKT and other charities.
You can contact AKT at: firstname.lastname@example.org