The LGBT Youth Commission on Housing and Homelessness was set up in 2016 with 10 young people. The commission felt that they needed to know more about other LGBT young people’s experiences and undertook peer research to identify the key improvements needed in housing and homelessness in Scotland. They also undertook consultation with 20 professionals from across the Housing and Homelessness Sector.
The consultation with LGBT young people found:
Young people don’t know where to go if they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Others are intimidated by, or fearful of discriminatory responses from the council. Some young people raised concern over the fact that discussions with council staff take place at open desks where members of the public may overhear their personal circumstances.
When young people do not feel comfortable coming out to services, they may not be able to fully describe why they left home to avoid homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic abuse from families, or domestic abuse from partners or ex-partners. Most young people were not aware that they may be deemed intentionally homeless if they are viewed as voluntarily leaving the family home.
The majority of young people consulted worry about being out to a service and said they’re more likely to come out if a service is visible inclusive. Many young people said they would not be comfortable being out to religious organisations providing housing and homelessness support as a result of perceptions about homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.
Transgender young people using services may face additional prejudice or discrimination from other service users and staff are not always equipped to respond. Some transgender young people even said that they had been denied access to single-sex services. Non-binary people often do not want to access gendered services.
LGBT Young people are concerned by the use of mediation as a prevention strategy which may return the young person to the family home and end up exposing them to further abuse.
Some areas and individual services are getting it right for LGBT young people, but all too often this is a post code lottery.
When the youth commissioners consulted with housing and homelessness services on their knowledge and experience responding to LGBT young people’s needs, they found: