As part of our winter fundraising appeal - a warm welcome to akt - we want to share some stories from the young people we help. The festive period, although a happy time for many of us, can be an incredibly lonely and distressing time for LGBTQ+ young people living in hostile environments or experiencing homelessness.

Our support is extremely vital this winter. 33% of all young people getting in touch through our live chat do so with an immediate need for accommodation, with many others also experiencing or fearing abuse, violence or hostility.

Chehra is an asylum seeker who contacted us through our live chat a few months ago and needed our help as she was rough sleeping. She had fled her home country after being persecuted due to her sexuality. She was understandably scared and distressed and had no safe accommodation and very little money. 

Chehra's first language isn’t English, so our digital caseworker communicated with her through WhatsApp, and she was able to translate the messages through her phone. 

akt organised a night in a hotel while Chehra found temporary accommodation. We also spoke to an Immigration Barrister to ensure that we were providing the right support when helping Chehra to contact Migrant Support and finding a solicitor to help with her asylum claim. 

Next, we referred Chehra to a specialist LGBTQ+ refugee and asylum service who were able to offer her a room in a safehouse! We bought Chehra’s train ticket so she could get there quickly, and once she was settled, we also referred her to a local LGBTQ+ and migrant support services. 

Chehra now feels a lot happier and is actively getting involved with new social groups, including her local LGBTQ+ football team! 

Without the live chat function on our website, Chehra might never have been able to get in touch with us. We must make sure that we are doing everything we can to make it easy for all young people who need our support to reach us. Please help us be there by supporting our appeal today and make sure that no one is left out in the cold this winter.

Thank you.

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