Despite the UK Government, instructing councils to take in the homeless amid lockdown, there are a number of queer youth’s not being counted for, leaving them to sofa surf across the country. Research from Akt and YouGov shows that one quarter of young queer people face homelessness in the UK. Within that figure, studies show that 61% are people of colour, and this rises to 79% in London.
Rowan Bratchell, trans and non-binary campaign officer at Bournemouth University, says the rise doesn’t come as a surprise.
BAME groups of queer youths have always held the highest percentage for homelessness as many are disowned and left feeling isolated from family members due to race and religion. The surge in numbers during Covid-19 are caused from mental health and income being at an all time low as they fear being housed in hostile communities.
What is being done to help LGBTQ+ homelessness?
the volume of referrals we’ve had as of late as continued to be incredibly high.
Akt are a charity setup to provide help and advice to the LGBTQ+ community. They have been adapting their services in the midst of lockdown to continue supporting and protecting young queer people.
Matt Horwood, Assistant Director of Communications said, “the volume of referrals we’ve had as of late as continued to be incredibly high. I’m so proud that our team has worked tirelessly to protect and support young people with housing and ensure their wellbeing”.
How are they adapting since lockdown?
Akt work with the Youth Engagement Coordinator and Digital Officer to produce content helping young people feel less isolated. They include collaborative events and content with queer creators and activists. Akt protect vulnerable young people, offering access to updated information on Covid-19. The team also mention that they use “bitesize and digestible language, with queer and inclusive graphics and explainers”.
Tackling homelessness in the UK opens issues for queer youths as there is a loss in confidence with housing. A number of LGBTQ+ housing organisations are asking for sexual orientation monitoring and support to be made mandatory across councils. This will verify that the needs of queer youths gender and ethnicity will be acknowledged moving forward.