About 40% of the people living on the streets or shelters are identified as LGBT. In the UK, about 1 out of 4 homeless people are thought to be LGBT. Furthermore, these people are usually subjected to rejection and abuse.
The UK’s first permanent homeless shelter for LGBT has recently opened in London. Some of the inhabitants expressed the rejection and disgust that they face on the streets. Most of the homeless youth are abandoned by their friends and families after coming out as an LGBT member. Due to this, these youth have usually nowhere to go.
“In some places where I stayed you could hear it in some people’s conversation – it’s almost hatred and it’s almost disgust, in their jokes and their conversation”, shared Chabahn, one of the residents. Chabahn became homeless last year aged 51. He shared that it is very dangerous to be open about being LGBT on the streets.
“I’ve had drug dealers approaching me, trying to put [the drug] Spice in my stuff, waking up with people urinating on you, I’ve had a couple of people spit on me”, he said.
Chabahn was homeless for 18 months. However, he found the shelter in February, during its pilot phase. As of at present, he has a fulltime job working in a cafe and permanent housing.
“It feels so good to be me again, something I had to hide for so long,” he said, crediting his turnaround to his time at the shelter.
“It brings back your confidence, brings back your drive”.
Cities build homeless shelters
The UK isn’t the only one coming up with such initiatives. Various cities in America are turning their attention to the Homeless LGBT youth of the community.
However, in contrast to the Obama administration, the White House under Trump does not prioritize the LGBT youth homelessness as their biggest priority.
Sacramento, Calif., is slated to open its first homeless shelter specifically for LGBT youth this summer. It will host 12 beds and allow people to stay for 90 days.
“Homelessness at large is a diverse population of people. As a government, we have largely used a one-size-fits-all [approach]. We need to tailor these interventions to the populations we’re serving”.