FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release / statement- Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project
Announcing Funding from the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund to support a new partnership between Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project.
Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project are delighted to announce funding from the Mayor of London Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund to create a community centre and night shelter for vulnerable homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people.
Working together, Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project will launch an LGBTIQ+ community centre with a focus on holistic wrap around support for those most at risk of rough sleeping. Overnight shelter accommodation will be provided within the centre for those in crisis. Individuals using the centre will be able to access Stonewall Housing’s wider services including a work-ready scheme, social groups and mental health advocacy with the aim of providing support and fostering resilience in order to better equip people in the wider world.
James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Residential Development, said: “Rough sleeping is a complex issue and it’s vital that services are available for everyone at risk. The Mayor is pleased to be helping to fund this new LGBTIQ+ community centre, which is designed to provide a place of safety and sanctuary for those who may otherwise avoid seeking help. It will help LGBTIQ+ Londoners who are at risk of rough sleeping access services they need and get support from others in the community to avoid a life on the streets.”
Bob Green OBE, CEO of Stonewall Housing said ‘We are delighted to be working with The Outside Project, thanks to funding through the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Initiative, to improve services for LGBT+ people.
LGBT+ people are more at risk of sleeping on the street and often avoid mainstream services so we are looking forward to working with the Greater London Authority and other projects that they are funding through this initiative in order to support more LGBT+ people to find safe housing and to access a range of services and social networks through the community space where they can celebrate their identity and achieve their full potential’.
Building on the successful pilot which ran last winter, when an LGBTIQ+ night shelter ran on a repurposed tour bus, now, with the support of the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, this shelter will be housed in a building, with a community centre at its heart, in order to reach those LGBTIQ+ people most at risk of rough sleeping. This will be a mix of cultural and artistic hub, offering a safe daytime refuge & cafe space alongside queer led services, pop-up businesses & co-working space for marginalised groups amongst the LGBTIQ+ community. Holistic case work, advice, housing and employment support, will be provided by Stonewall Housing’s floating support. Tam Vilbert, community centre director said ‘At the centre of our community are the most vulnerable members, we owe all of our current LGBTIQ+ rights to the homeless, transgender and marginalised queers who stood up for us 49 years ago in the Stonewall riots.’
Carla Ecola, founder of The Outside Project said ‘We welcome the support of the Mayor’s office following a year-long campaign driven by London’s LGBTIQ+ activist, artist & homeless community.
We look forward to building on our work with Stonewall Housing, in solidarity with our community & the inspiring LGBTIQ+ centres & services that exist in London.’
Stonewall Housing is the specialist LGBT+ housing advice and support provider in England. They have over 30 years of experience working with the housing needs of LGBTIQ+ people. They offer a range of independent, community-based, specialist services, including advice, advocacy and support. They also research and influence others about LGBT+ housing.
For more information contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Outside Project
The Outside Project is an innovative approach to meeting the needs of a very excluded cohort, creating a safe and welcoming space for members of the LGBTQI+ community to engage with and a service that both understands and caters to the specific needs and risks of this client group. Last summer The Outside Project campaigned & crowdfunded with London’s LGBTIQ+ community of activists & artists to provide the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ crisis/homeless shelter. This independent, grassroots project was a success, demonstrating the need for such an ‘identity responsive service’ with the addition of a community centre in London delivered by & for our most marginalised groups. This includes the development of a social enterprise community centre offering safe daytime refuge. This will be a sober space, designed with those most vulnerable at its core. More than just a night shelter, the Outside Project strives to ensure that clients coming through their door are enabled to feel not only “safe”, but part of a family that will not judge any aspect of their lives and will share many of their own experiences and challenges.
For more information contact Carla Ecola on Carla.Ecola@lgbtiqoutside.org or Tam on Tam@lgbtiqoutside.org
If you are interested in applying to use pop-up business & co-working space please complete the contact form on our website www.LGBTIQoutside.org/contact-us
If you would like to volunteer for the shelter, please complete the contact form on our website – www.LGBTIQoutside.org/contact-us
Stonewall Housing’s Finding Safe Spaces Report (2015) found that there is a lack of LGBTIQ+ appropriate refuge and shelter accommodation across London and general services don’t cater for LGBTIQ+ needs. LGBTIQ+ people often fear further discrimination and don’t seek help, and trans women often feel unsafe or excluded from accessing women’s shelters.
“I slept under the platform. The people are on the platform above boarding the train and I was underneath.” Mora (not real name) 27 years old.
‘Still Out There’ research (LGBT+ Consortium July 2016) found 25% of London’s homeless population identify as LGBT+ and 35% earn less than the living wage lacking sufficient financial resources to maintain suitable standards of living. LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to be homeless due to family breakdown and suffer physical, verbal and phobic harassment, domestic abuse and sexual exploitation.
“I stayed out…stayed awake and walked around. Sometimes, I would [go to] the cruising area…napped on the benches…everyone looked out for everyone else. Didn’t sleep at night…seen people have their heads kicked liked a football or pissed on.” Ronnie (not real name) 35 years old.
A recent survey by House Proud and the University of Surrey on social housing reported 35% LGBTIQ+ people were not open about their sexual orientation, with 60% of trans respondents not feeling safe in their neighbourhood.
“I didn’t feel safe in so called hotspot because it’s really hard to sleep where you have people walking past you. There was also this big thing about being seen. There is also a lot of violence on the streets. The further out of the way the better.” Yasmin (not real name) 27 years old.
Many of our service users have very complex needs (health, mental health, housing, drug and alcohol use, sexual and physical harm), 71% identify as BAME, 41% have a disability, 22% identify as trans, non-binary, gender queer or gender variant. 27% describe themselves as having mental health disability, more are depressed, anxious, and lonely, with suicidal thoughts and self-harm commonplace.
“I had a drug habit and I was funding it through prostitution. The reason I was homeless was because of domestic abuse in a same sex relationship and I found that workers didn’t really grasp that. You can’t be gay because you are selling sex. They couldn’t make that differentiation, so I struggled to explain myself.” Cece (not real name) 28 years old.
“I would go back to people’s houses and sleep with people. I wouldn’t use any protection, I did it to get a roof over my head.” Jamie (not real name) 24 years old.