It has been a busy couple of months in the policy/public affairs world, with things rapidly developing and changing.

Since the reopening of parliament in September, we have seen the end of the evictions ban and the government announcement on reforms to the GRA. We’ve been focusing on our responses, speaking at external events and planning for the launch of our campaign around mandatory monitoring. This will coincide with a new briefing paper and the launch of our research report. 

We’ve decided to focus on mandatory monitoring for an array of reasons. We know that Covid-19 and lockdown has had a huge impact on our young people, which was reflected on in our July briefing alongside recommendations to service providers. We also know that 24% of young people who experience homelessness in the UK identify as LGBTQ+, this is a huge over-representation but we all know that the figure is likely to be higher. 

It is getting increasingly frustrating to see LGBTQ+ youth homelessness treated as a marginal issue, when we know from our research and interactions with young people that it is not and has a huge impact. Before parliament broke for summer recess we positioned written parliamentary questions with a number of MPs on issues like levels of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, the numbers of LGBTQ+ youth who are rough sleeping and the numbers of Black and POC youth experiencing homelessness/rough sleeping. The answer from government was simply that they do not know because we do not have uniform mandatory monitoring. 

This is why our campaigning efforts will be focused on the single issue of mandatory monitoring. Moreover, from meetings that we have attended, it’s clear that the government’s focus will be on rough sleeping and less so on hidden homelessness and prevention. By concentrating on mandatory monitoring we can find an avenue to influence by working closely with other LGBTQ+ organisations, as it’s an issue that not only affects those working in the housing/homelessness sector. 

Our focus is now on building a coalition of support, with other LGBTQ+, youth, health and homelessness organisations and political stakeholders at the national and regional level. We recently had a useful meeting with Dr Rosena-Allin Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health. We’ll also be meeting with the APPG on Global LGBT+ Rights and hopefully will have a meeting lined up with Keir Starmer soon. 

Overall, we will be ramping up our engagement now that we have a clear understanding of the policy landscape and how we should best position ourselves to maximise the chance of influencing it. We want our campaign to involve our young people and to have clearly defined short term and long term objectives with regards to mandatory monitoring and our broader public affairs strategy. 

Very exciting times ahead!

Jo, Policy and Research Officer

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