AKT have just released findings from two studies showing the cost of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness to society and the nature of the interaction between LGBTQ+ young homeless people and mainstream service providers.

This new evidence comes three years after AKT’s ground-breaking report which identified that up to 24% of young people at risk of homelessness identify as LGBT with 77% citing familial rejection and abuse after coming out as the primary cause.* 

AKT are acutely aware of the personal and emotional impact of homelessness on the lives of the LGBTQ+ young people they support.

However, in their latest study, conducted by Dr. Jason Schaub, they re-examined previously published estimates of the annual economic cost of homelessness per person.

These estimates vary from £19-43,000 and these studies do not include additional issues associated with LGBTQ+ young people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness. These include costs related to HIV and increased mental health needs. AKT’s study considered these additional costs to create a more complete estimate for a LGBTQ+ young person at risk of homelessness at first month, one year and over a lifetime.

The result suggests that the annual cost per person is £44,812.

AKT’s second study, also by Dr. Schaub, surveyed mainstream homelessness service providers across three regions. The findings suggest that young people are unwilling to use some services or disclose their identity for fear they will experience homo/transphobia.

The survey also suggests that almost half (42%) of the services are not recording sexual identity information, and a third (35%) are not recording gender identity information.

Most respondents were uncertain about where to direct an LGBTQ+ young person for appropriate support and they made repeated requests for additional training and LGBTQ+-specific services. Additional recommendations from the report include:

  • LGBTQ+ specific services are recommended, with services that are able to be young people-specific. 
  • Trans young people are particularly vulnerable, and require services that are sensitive to their needs
  • Intensive and ongoing support from a specialist worker is a highly effective intervention to reduce homelessness 
  • It is likely that young LGBTQ+ people are less likely to rely on wider family and community supports, out of fear of rejection or abuse

 Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive of AKT said:

“We already know that LGBTQ+ youth are over represented amongst those at risk of homelessness and with our latest study it is critical that they do not remain invisible when mainstream providers deliver services, identify priority needs or plan provision. We are therefore calling for mandatory monitoring of gender and sexual orientation by public / publicly commissioned homelessness services nationally to better understand and be able to meet these unmet needs.” 

Tim Sigsworth continued: “We believe that while a strong focus on rough sleeping initiatives is extremely important, if we are to provide a sustainable solution to the issue of rising homelessness we need a complimentary focus on prevention and early action. AKT’s Purple Door emergency housing project and our digital support services - which reach young people just before or at the point of crisis, are examples of approaches which could be taken to significantly reduce the public health and welfare costs of medium to long term homelessness.”

*LGBT Youth Homelessness: A UK National Scoping of Cause, Prevalence and Outcome, The Albert Kennedy Trust, 2015