IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Charities call on next London mayor to tackle LGBT homelessness

Research suggests nearly a quarter of all young people facing or experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTIQA+

13 March, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Anna Kear: ‘I think presently the end goal is to raise awareness and stop this from being an invisible issue’

LONDON’S next mayor should commit to providing LGBTIQA+ housing in the capital, say campaigners, with research showing nearly one in five LGBT people experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives.

The call comes from a group of homelessness and housing charities, including the Islington-based Outside Project, which operates a homeless shelter out of the old Clerkenwell fire station.

The group, made up of Consortium, the Albert Kennedy Trust, Stonewall Housing, Stonewall, Tonic Living and Micro Rainbow, has hit out at the “chronic lack” of LGBTIQA+ housing in the capital, and drafted what is believed to be the first ever LGBTIQA+ housing manifesto.

London has the highest percentage of people who openly identify as LGBT in the UK, estimated to be at least 450,000 citizens. Research by the Albert Kennedy Trust suggests nearly a quarter of all young people facing or experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTIQA+.

The group’s aim is to convince the next mayor to produce a LGBTIQA+ housing strategy for the capital, along with a GLA portfolio role for LGBTIQA+ housing.

Carla Ecola

“London’s LGBTIQA+ community and the Mayor of London made history when they brought The Outside Project to life in 2018,” said Outside Project founder Carla Ecola.

“We are hopeful that this new coalition campaign will also be won and that the Mayoral Election candidates of 2020 will commit to achieving the goals that we have set out in our manifesto.”

Anna Kear, CEO of non-profit Tonic Living which creates LGBT+ retirement communities, said the problem was that people in power simply aren’t aware of the statistics.

“I think presently the end goal is to raise awareness and stop this from being an invisible issue,” she told the Tribune.

“At the moment we’re really conscious about this in terms of our day-to-day working. But most mainstream organisations like local authorities or homeless providers, they don’t see things through that lens.

“People just haven’t heard those statistics before. That’s part of the problem. When people are in housing need or crises there’s all sorts of issues around LGBT disclosures. Lots of people won’t disclose and lots of people won’t ask the question.

“These things are going under the radar but actually they’re often the main cause of why young people, especially, are homeless.

“We’re really clear in that what we’ve managed to put together is our primary ask. That’s to work with the next mayor to create an LGBT housing strategy. That strategy will have all the evidence base and all the issues in it.

“We’ve tried to give a flavour of what the issues are, but we want that strategy to particularly focus on this.”

The group’s manifesto can be found at www.lgbtiqoutside.org/campaign

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