103,000 young people in England are currently at risk of homelessness (Centrepoint, 2018); up to 24% identify as LGBTQ+, and 77% of these cite familial rejection and abuse after coming out as the primary cause of their homelessness (akt 2015).

According to Homeless Links’ recent survey (2019) young people identifying as LGBTQ+, those seeking asylum and those identifying as people of colour are the three most at risk groups of young people facing homelessness; this is reflected in the demographic of the young people akt supports each year.

Therefore LGBTQ+ people are amongst the most vulnerable and over-represented young people at risk of homelessness in 2019.

The true level of LGBTQ+ homelessness remains hidden by such factors as: up to 40% of mainstream homelessness and housing providers failing to undertakethorough and inclusive monitoring of gender and sexual identity during assessment (akt, 2018).

Due to the unique (e.g.homo/bi/trans phobia) and/ or higher prevalence of issues (e.g. of mental health and substance misuse) which LGBTQ+ youth face when homelessness, the cost to the state to support them (if there is no intervention) can rise to £44,000 per year per person (akt, 2018).

People under 30 sacrifice the largest portion of their overall income to pay for accommodation (Guardian, 2019) and local housing allowance across most authorities does not cover the full cost of the most affordable accommodation in the private rented sector. This means securing and maintaining a tenancy is a major challenge for young people.

We would like to see included in the manifestos in 2019 a commitment to:

1) ensuring safe and affordable homes for the most vulnerable young people facing homelessness, i.e. those identifying as LGBTQ+

2) more focus on investing in prevention and early action solutions which will prevent lifetimes of homelessness for young people

akt’s recommendations

  • Comprehensive monitoring of gender and sexuality should be mandatory amongst housing and homelessness services to ensure they can both identify level of need and appropriately manage that need amongst their client base.
  • Assessments undertaken by housing, health, education and other professionals should identify and respond to the specific risks, actions and ongoing support needs of LGBTQ+ young people
  • A continuous programme of diversity and inclusion focused training should be provided for all frontline and management staff across the housing and homelessness professions
  • Local Housing Allowance rates should be set to cover the full cost of reasonably priced, low-cost accommodation across private rented accommodation
  • Landlords who provide safe* and reasonably affordable accommodation should be added to a ‘Best Landlords’ register which is published and disseminated.
  • Given the disproportionately high risk of HIV infection, sexual exploitation and risk of exposure to chemsex which LGBTQ+ young people face, especially those at risk of homelessness (akt 2015, 2019), akt believes LGBTQ+ inclusive sex and relationship education which is inclusive of all sexual and gender identities should be recognised as best practice in safeguarding young people and should therefore be a mandatory requirement in the provision of relationship education within schools.
  • In preventing homelessness more Investment should be made in piloting digital support services and emergency accommodation solutions which will limit the social and economic costs of homelessness**

*where young people do not face discrimination on the grounds of age, race, sexuality, gender or other protected characteristics

** See akt’s digital service for LGBTQ+ youth at risk of homelessness and its Purple Door housing project which comprises corporate and voluntary sector partnerships to provide low-costs / high impact accommodation to recently homeless young people