This year marks 50 years of Pride – a month dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ communities across the world. For people who identify as LGBTQ+, a staggering 77% cite rejection and abuse after coming out as the reason they are homeless. At Depaul UK we support young people no matter their background or how they identify.

How does identity affect homelessness?

Data from AKT shows 24% of young people facing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+. The LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness are discriminately impacted by many issue which can affect their resilience and ability to access support to ultimately move on with their lives and leave homelessness behind.

Data from our research report Danger Zones and Stepping Stones: Phase Two shows 36% of LGBTQ+ young people who left stable accommodation said it was to escape mental and emotional abuse – compared to 17% of non-LGBTQ+ young people. And LGBTQ+ young people were almost twice as likely to have experienced mental or emotional abuse (49% compared with 26%) when out of stable accommodation. These statistics show that identity has a very real impact on the factors that can contribute to a young person experiencing homelessness, but also place them at greater risk when they become homeless.

What we are doing to support LGBTQ people

Depaul UK is an inclusive organisation which celebrates people of all identities and orientations. Equality, diversity and inclusion are a big part of what make Depaul, Depaul.

Josh, one of our Equality Diversity and Inclusion champions, said, “It’s important to be an inclusive charity as we want the environment to be as welcoming as possible for staff and clients so they can be their most authentic selves and not have to hide.”

In our services and in our workplaces, we are making spaces where LGBTQ+ people feel safe and are providing training to raise awareness of LQBTQ+ identities.

Nighstop Coordinator Georgia said, “We put up the trans flag and it says ’everybody is welcome’. We’ve also had training, which helps clients a lot because they felt a lot more supported because we were trying to learn more.

“We use inclusive language to affirm a young person’s identify so they feel safe and openly challenge any prejudice. “

As our Accommodation Manger, Saffron said, “It’s all about education, it’s all about communication. We can wipe the ignorance out by talking about all the -isms. We just need to keep talking, and that’s what I do with the clients. You’ve got to be open to questions.”

Breaking down barriers for the people we support

We ensure every young person who comes to our service for support is made to feel included, and we give them a space to feel safe and be their true selves. In this way we can also provide support which is tailored to them, their identity and their experiences. Once this happens they are able to rebuild their lives and move on from homelessness.

Xenia was supported by Depaul after having to sleep rough as a result of coming out as trans. She suffered emotional abuse from her family.

“The fact that it’s for young people is really great. I met a few people here who are LGBTQ+. It’s been easier to talk and get along with them, than at any other hostel.”

Zoe was referred to Depaul after being street homeless for six months. We supported Zoe in temporary accommodation until she was able to get back on her feet. She said, “It was very difficult. Especially because I was Zoe, when I was homeless. That was the hardest part for me. Being LGBTQ+ and going new places, I don’t know how people will take it.

“But Depaul never stopped trying to help me.

“I appreciate it so much. It means a lot for someone to have your back. There are not many places that are like that. I don’t have many safe places, but I do at Depaul. There’s not one point that I’ve felt uneasy in there. I don’t know what it is. It’s just Depaul I think.”

Georgia supported Zoe through her journey at Depaul, “anything she needs, she’ll just come in and book a 1-to-1. We got her into accommodation and got her off the streets which was the main thing. She often says, that if it weren’t for Depaul, she doesn’t think she would have improved.”

We’re privileged to work with a hugely diverse group of staff and clients. No matter how you identify, we’re here for you.