akt, the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, has officially opened its new services centre and youth space in Manchester! 

The centre will provide specialist housing support; emergency accommodation support; education and employment training; host and mentor programmes; and peer-to-peer support. It will also provide a communal safe space for LGBTQ+ young people.

"akt is a wonderful organisation supporting LGBTQ+ young people in the UK who are experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment. The need for akt services is sadly still extremely high. The work of akt in Greater Manchester is invaluable helping young people into a welcoming environment where they are valued and respected. As a volunteer mentor I have worked with young people in Greater Manchester and I can strongly confirm that the services and opportunities akt give to young LGBTQ+ people is truly life changing for many of the service users." – Joe Dunn, volunteer mentor in Greater Manchester

Almost one quarter of young people facing homelessness in the UK identify as LGBTQ+. The pandemic has exacerbated many of the driving factors behind LGBTQ+ youth homelessness including familial rejection, mental health, and economic factors. This has resulted in an increase in demand for akt’s services across Greater Manchester and the North West.

“Manchester holds an important place in the history of akt as it’s where the charity was first formed. We are thrilled to have the full support of the Mayor as we open our doors to a bigger services centre that will see us strengthen our offering to the LGBTQ+ community, and our presence within the North West of England.” - CEO of akt, Tim Sigsworth 

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, who officially opened our new services centre, said: “akt are a trusted partner providing much-needed services to LGBTQ+ young people in our city-region. This new centre will strengthen the support it provides and it’s a privilege to be asked to open it today.

Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping is a top priority for all of us across Greater Manchester and we are now increasingly focusing on preventing it. It is essential that we recognise the causes and how to tackle it with bespoke support for people at all stages of their lives.

We know homelessness disproportionally affects people who experience discrimination and exclusion. This is sadly the case for so many LGBTQ+ young people. We have to make sure that proper support is in place not just to help them recover, and get back on their feet, but to be everything they want to be. I have no doubt that akt will do some fantastic work at this centre, and they have my full support.”

The LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Report

The LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Report is a new piece of research from akt which addresses the impact of homelessness, familial and partner abuse and discrimination on LGBTQ+ young people in the UK. The report surveyed and interviewed LGBTQ+ young people who had experienced homelessness in the UK within the last five years while aged 16 – 25.

 Some of the findings include:

  • One in six (16 per cent) LGBTQ+ young people were forced to do sexual acts with a family member or partner prior to becoming homeless
  • 61 per cent felt frightened or threatened by a family member prior to becoming homeless
  • Just 13 per cent felt supported by family whilst homeless
  • One fifth (17 per cent) felt they had to have casual sex to find somewhere to stay whilst homeless
  • Over half (59 per cent) had experienced discrimination or harassment when accessing a support service

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