Young homeless LGBTQ+ young people are being denied the help they need because many local authority staff don’t understand the specific issues they face.
That was the message when Shadow Housing Minister and Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, met with housing charity, akt (formerly the Albert Kennedy Trust) Youth Ambassadors, including a young Muslim trans man, to discuss their unique circumstances and – occasionally negative – experiences with housing and social services.
Alex heard how family breakdown regularly led to LGBTQ+ young people becoming homeless, and that local authorities often lacked knowledge or experience of LGBTQ+ issues required in their cases.
The charity’s CEO, Tim Sigworth said
akt were pleased to welcome the Shadow Minster for Housing to our YouthSpace.
During his visit he met with some of our team and Young Ambassadors to discuss the experience of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, and how he could help.
We hope that this introduction to our charity and the issue establishes a strong relationship with Alex, and allows for our aims to be met by MPs, ensuring the prevention of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness.
I was delighted to visit akt’s YouthSpace and talk with their Youth Ambassadors. These young people have been akt service users who have invaluable experience of what it is like to be made homeless because of their sexual orientation. It was clear from talking to them that the LGBTQ+ community is being let down by frontline services which simply do not understand the unique circumstances they face.
It was clear to me young LGBT+ young people face additional challenges when made homeless and its important council and other staff would benefit from a greater understanding on how to best help them.
Reform of these service is required. We need ensure that frontline housing services staff such as those in local authorities are trained to understand the circumstances which can lead to LGBTQ+ homelessness, and make those services are fit for purpose.