From education to employment

New drive to help young LGBT+ homeless into housing

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A charity in Hackney has received funding to help London’s young homeless LGBT+ people get off the streets and into safe housing.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, awarded £57,000 to Albert Kennedy Trust (akt), which works with young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Of the estimated 150,000 young people at risk in London, one in four identifies as LGBT+*.

The charity has been given funding to assess the needs of young LGBT+ people who are homeless or vulnerably housed and support them into safe housing and eventually, independent living.

akt also works to prevent vulnerable people from becoming homeless. It provides services via its support staff, mentors, carers, and online programmes including non-housing related support around healthcare, financial assistance, education, training and work.

Last year akt provided a total of 6,000 nights of accommodation to 300 vulnerable LGBT+ young people.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:

“akt is transforming the lives of hundreds of young LGBT+ Londoners every year.

“This funding means even more people will get the help they need to enjoy a better, safer and more comfortable future.

“We are proud to partner with akt to tackle disadvantage and inequality in London. And we will continue to support charities in making the capital a better place in which to live.”

Matt Horwood, Assistant Director of Communications at Albert Kennedy Trust, said:

“We’re thrilled to have been awarded this money, which will help our vital work supporting LGBTQ+ young people into safe homes and better futures.

“Over 75 per cent of the funds we receive go directly into supporting our services for young people, and so this kind of support is absolutely necessary for us to deliver what we do, from our mentor scheme, to our host programme to our Purple Door safe house here in London.

“We look forward to using the funds to impact real change for some of the capital’s most vulnerable young people.”

In 2015 akt commissioned a national review. The results found that LGBT young people are over-represented among the homeless population, and at a higher risk of becoming homeless due to suffering abuse at home, violence or rejection because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Once homeless, they are more likely to experience targeted violence, discrimination and hate crime, and they often present with complex needs including poor mental health, sexual exploitation, substance misuse and domestic abuse.

Chris’s Story

Chris could no longer live at home when their family found out that they were bisexual. With no family support and no friends to stay with, they had to sleep in a park. Isolated and vulnerable, they were approached by men offering drugs or places to stay in exchange for sex. They found out about akt from a friend and akt supported them to access a shelter. They continued doing their art course at college and after a few weeks at the shelter moved in with a couple who are part of akt’s host programme. Chris is looking forward to continuing their studies by going to university and moving into private rented accommodation with help from akt’s Rainbow Starter Pack.

Gurleen’s Story

Gurleen is a gay man who lives with his parents in the North East of England. The day he rang akt, he thought his parents had discovered he was gay, and was afraid that he would be asked to leave home when returning from work that evening. Gurleen contacted akt, unsure whether his parents knew he was gay, and if not whether he should think about coming out to them. He was afraid for his future and that he could be rejected by his family forever. Gurleen worked with akt,and supported him to reach the decision to come out to his family. akt created an emergency housing plan for Gurleen in case the conversation with his parents didn’t go to plan and he had to leave home suddenly. What was essential during this call was to support Gurleen to be confident in who he is; prepare him for his parents’ response and consider their perspective to enable a sensitive and positive disclosure.

Albert Kennedy Trust has been providing housing, information, advice and advocacy services in London since 1995.

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates.

It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

*akt research 2015

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