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LGBTI experiences of homelessness

LGBT Youth Scotland were delighted to have a young person, Kaelin Farnish (age 19) co-deliver multi-agency training with staff for the first time on 24th May 2018.

The training was funded by the Scottish Government and was co-developed by staff and young people from the Youth Commission on Housing and Homelessness; a group of young people from across Scotland working together to explore LGBTI young people’s experiences of homelessness and how these link with experiences of abuse and gender based violence. 

Janice Stevenson, the Development Officer who leads the youth commission said, “It has been an amazing experience to support the youth commission over the last 22 months. Since the group formed, they have successfully conducted their own research consultation with LGBTI young people in order to understand their experiences as well as consulting with housing sector professionals so we can understand the gaps in knowledge and awareness and any barriers they may face in their role. This has helped the youth commission to develop a real sense of what service providers need to know and how services can be more inclusive.”

Based on learning from their consultation work, the group, staff and volunteers worked collaboratively to develop a bespoke training package for professionals that would provide an opportunity to learn about the causes and impact of LGBT youth homelessness as well as ways of building more inclusive services. Professionals from housing & homelessness, criminal justice, the police, domestic abuse, health and youth sectors attended.

The aim of the training was to ensure that participants;

  • Have an increased knowledge of language and definitions related to working with LGBT people
  • Have increased understanding of LGBTI people’s experiences and impact of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
  • Have increased understanding of LGBTI young people’s experiences of homelessness and abuse
  • Have increased understanding of the barriers LGBT young people face when accessing support services 

Evaluation of the training demonstrated that participants felt more confident and better able to respond to the needs of LGBTI young homeless people as a result of taking part. Participants also noted the benefits of having a young person co-deliver the training, stating that they, “loved having input from a young person,” and thanking them for “sharing their own experiences”.

Kaelin said, “Knowing that what I say has an impact on services and can help improve things is so rewarding, as well as hearing feedback from professionals who want to make change and are striving to be inclusive. My confidence to answer questions, share my personal story and improvise around material is now so high and I definitely want to deliver training again.”

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