Numbers of LGBT+ homeless are rising
'Sometimes young people come out to their families but their families say they don’t want to live with them because of it'
21 February, 2020 — By Helen Chapman
Dean Harris at the New Horizon Youth Centre in Somers Town
NUMBERS of homeless young people who identify as LGBT are on the rise, according to a youth centre in Somers Town.
The New Horizon Youth Centre in Chalton Street work with London Youth Gateway partners Stonewall Housing, akt and Galop supporting LGBT+ young people.
Up to 500 young people identifying as LGBT+ approached the network looking for support last year.
Dean Harris, manager of the centre, said: “What happens is sometimes young people come out to their families but their families say they don’t want to live with them because of it. It could be because of cultural backgrounds and the young people are asked to leave.”
Research by Stonewall in 2018 found that 25 per cent of people identifying as transgender or with a trans history reported to have experienced homelessness.
“What I am seeing more of is a rise of hate crime and that includes not just physical but emotional and psychological abuse,” said Mr Harris.
“We need to look towards a more enlightened government. At the moment there is not much difference to the guidance for the LGBT community here than there is in Trump’s America. It’s about understanding that everyone is different – diversity is the best way.”
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David, 20, was referred to New Horizon Youth Centre last year after finding himself without anywhere to live.
He said: “I got kicked out by my parents because my dad wanted a straight son. But in me he had a gay kid studying fashion, so it was the polar opposite. We had an argument and he decided to just kick me out of our home.”
David, who is now in full-time work and has moved into a new home, added: “New Horizon helped me in a lot of ways. They helped me by paying for me to stay again in a backpacker’s hostel when I was waiting for a place in a night shelter.”
New Horizon is celebrating LGBT+ History Month by holding workshops and debates throughout February.