LGBTQ+ housing: What West Yorkshire can learn from Brighton


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As well as being a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month is also an opportunity to reflect on the very real challenges still faced by many LGBTQ+ people in the UK and across the world, even in 2024. That includes disproportionate rates of homelessness. 

This month we’re looking at the rates of homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community and what West Yorkshire can learn from other councils about how to address the issue. 

LGBTQ+ homelessness

The statistics around homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community are shocking.

  • 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ people will experience homelessness at some point in their lives.
  • 24% of homeless young people identify as LGBTQ+.
  • 1 in 4 trans people have experienced homelessness.
  • 77% of LGBTQ+ youth who have faced homelessness believe coming out to their parents was the main factor.

Rejection by family members, barriers to accessing support services and difficulty finding work all play a role in a disproportionate number of people in the LGBTQ+ community facing homelessness.

Barriers to support

Despite experiencing higher rates of homelessness than non-LGBTQ+ groups, only a third of LGBTQ+ young people asked their local authority for support when facing homelessness.

When LGBTQ+ people do seek support, they can be faced with a lack of understanding of the reasons they’re facing homelessness, excessive questions about their sexuality or gender identity, misgendering, deadnaming, and other forms of discrimination. 

In light of this, 97% of people who’ve engaged with Stonewall Housing (the leading national charity supporting LGBTQ+ people facing homelessness) say it’s important to them that their caseworker understands what it’s like to be LGBTQ+.

Brighton & Hove City Council’s LGBTQ+ housing scheme

In May this year, Brighton & Hove City Council announced its new housing scheme for vulnerable LGBTQ+ people in collaboration with Stonewall Housing and CHISEL Neighbourhood Housing Association.

The scheme will provide safe and inclusive accommodation for LGBTQ+ people who are (or are at risk of becoming) homeless. Dedicated support workers will help to create personalised plans with each resident, with the goal of transitioning to long-term housing solutions with ongoing support. 

This order of support - starting with a safe space and providing support from there - is similar to the Housing First model springing up across Europe. That’s the scheme that helped Finland reduce the number of people staying in temporary accommodation by 76%.  

What can we learn from Brighton?

Brighton & Hove’s new LGBTQ+ housing scheme has only just launched, so it’ll be a while before we can understand its impact. But there are some lessons here that councils across the country can be inspired by to support those facing homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Listen to the community

Switchboard, an LGBTQ+ community charity based in Brighton & Hove, has been calling for safe, inclusive housing for LGBTQ+ people to be prioritised - and the council has acted. 

Make safe housing a priority

A lot of support for people facing homelessness in the UK comes with caveats. People are expected to make changes such as getting sober before they’re given support. Housing first models flip the script, providing a safe space that then allows people to face any other challenges in their life.

Work with experts

By collaborating with Stonewall Housing, Brighton & Hove City Council has designed its scheme with the challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community at the forefront, making use of Stonewall Housing’s extensive research and experience.

The challenges still faced by the LGBTQ+ community exist all year round - not just during Pride Month. While Pride offers an opportunity for these important conversations, they need to come with real change, not just a hashtag. 

Every donation to Simon on the Streets helps us to continue essential outreach work with people who - for whatever reason - might not otherwise get support. Find out how you can help.

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