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Youth Commission: Housing and Homelessness

The LGBT Youth Commission on Housing and Homelessness was set up in 2016 with 10 young people.

In order to know more about LGBT young people’s experiences commissioners undertook peer research. They also reviewed existing research on LGBT young people’s experiences of homelessness including research by the Albert Kennedy Trust, which found that:

  • LGBT young people are disproportionately represented in the young homeless population. As many as 24% of young homeless people are LGBT
  • 69% of homeless LGBT young people had experienced violence, abuse or rejection from the family home
  • 77% state that their LGBT identity was a causal factor in them becoming homeless

Findings from Peer Research

The Youth Commission consulted over 100 LGBT young people from across Scotland and found that:

  1. LGBT young people were not presenting as ‘homeless’ to local councils
  2. Young people said that they simply didn’t know where to go and many said they didn’t want to have discussions at open desks
  3. LGBT young people were fearful of disclosing their LGBT identity/ ‘coming out’ to support services
  4. Some had negative experiences of ‘coming out’. There were also perceptions that religious organisations were more likely to be homophobic or biphobic
  5. Trans and non-binary young people faced additional barriers to accessing shelters and accommodation
  6. Trans young people faced prejudice from service users and felt that staff were not always equipped to respond. Some transgender young people had been denied access to single-sex services and non-binary young people often felt there was no suitable alternative for them

Concerns were also raised regarding mediation services that support young people to return to family homes that were not LGBT inclusive or supportive.

Findings from Professional Consultation

The Youth Commission consulted with over 20 professionals. They found that:

  • There were inconsistent levels of LGBT awareness training with most professionals stating that they had no training at all
  • The majority of respondents rated their confidence to support LGBT homeless young people as low
  • Services are not consistently recording sexual orientation and trans identity

The Youth Commission are currently meeting with representatives from local authorities and services across Scotland to discuss their findings.

Want to find out more/contact the Youth Commission?

Contact our Development Officer, Janice Stevenson janice.stevenson@lgbtyouth.org.uk

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