LGBT+ History Month
February is LGBT+ History Month – a time to celebrate diversity and support the LGBT+ community, who are disproportionately impacted by homelessness.
Research from akt found that 24% of young people experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+, and 77% cite family rejection and abuse after coming out as the primary reason for their homelessness. However, LGBTQ+ young people and LGBTQ+ people in general, often remain ‘hidden’ and undercounted within official homelessness data.
According to akt’s research, only a third (33%) of LGBTQ+ young people who accessed a service whilst homeless felt safe to disclose information about their gender identity and sexuality.
We hope that changes across the homelessness sector, and at Your Place, we have been working hard to ensure that everyone who comes through our doors feels safe to be their true selves. Every person who comes to our service is made to feel included, so that they can access support which is responsive to their needs and experiences.
We celebrate our people and ensure equity, diversity and inclusion are central to everything we do. Some of the ways in which we try to create an inclusive community is by increasing visibility of the views and differences of the people we support and employ. We encourage open conversations, facilitate training. mark awareness days and are mindful of using inclusive language and designing services in co-production with those we support to ensure they best meet their needs. We can also refer our residents to specialist support services, and make counselling available to anyone who would benefit from it.
Our Belonging Committee, led by employees across the charity, listen to and incorporate the views and lived experience of all residents and colleagues and have co-produced our Belonging Framework which sets out the behaviours and conduct we expect from our staff, trustees and volunteers when providing a safe, diverse and inclusive environment within the organisation.
Craig Hardaker, Director of People and the Executive Sponsor of the Belonging Committee, shared one of the areas that we can been focussing on recently across the organisation.
"We have been starting to use more inclusive language to help us lead by example in the sector and create a welcoming and safe place for our team members and residents from the LGBT+ community who want to reach their full potential and feel that Your Place is a place where they belong."
We know there is still a long way to go, but together we can solve homelessness one person at a time.