Being homeless is not normally a choice, it is usually forced upon individuals and families by circumstances over which they have little or no control.
Research Matters wrote in March 2018, …Homelessness is a highly emotive issue and attention on the plight of those who are homeless in Northern Ireland has gained particular momentum…Young people who are homeless can have a range of complex needs resulting from mental health difficulties, family breakdown and childhood abuse…Family rejection resulting in a loss of accommodation and support networks was the most cited reason for homelessness amongst the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community…IN a study conducted by the Rainbow Project, it recommended developing protocols to enable the assessment of LGBT social housing applicants’ individual support needs and signposting vulnerable applicants to appropriate services.
In Dec 2020 David Levesley wrote in GQ …It’s been a bad year to be black or trans and it’s been an even worse year to be black, trans and queer if you don’t have a place to call home! His article incorporates a story about Sam who ended up in Amsterdam, Manchester and Birmingham and the difficulties of settling when you don’t know anyone or the culture. Ultimately he got lucky and heard about The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) who have been assisting queer youth at risk of homelessness since 1989.
The Simon Community in its report ‘Pathways to Youth Homelessness’ found that 82% of young people said they were straight whilst 18% identified as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or were unsure. This number is significant compared to 1.9% of the general population identifying as LGBT in a recent ONS survey (2015.
In may last year (2020) a task group was set up in Northern Ireland to help plan the regions homelessness response as it exited the Coronavius lockdown – my initial investigations have shown that the following groups would be joining this group:-
- First Housing
- housing Rights
- The Salvation Army
- Simon Community
- Welcome Organizations
but so far what I don’t see is any involvement of representative’s from the LGBTQ+ community, and taking into account the Simon Community figures 18% of young people who indicated they were homeless were either gay, lesbian, bisexual or were unsure, this over-sight by the organizers needs to be rectified!
Homelessness is something we can fix, along with children being hungry, we are supposedly a rich country, and if we are then how we deal with these social issues and ensure that people do not suffer is a mark of our society’s ability to be human.
- Five ways to help support the LGBTQ+ homeless
- Pathways to Youth Homelessness – Simon Community
- Northern Ireland Homelessness Task Group