- They are even accusing LGBT+ young people of making themselves ‘intentionally homeless’.
English local authorities are asking LGBT+ youths to provide letters from their parents who rejected them to prove they are homeless.
That’s according to BBC Three and The Next Episode podcast who investigated the issue.
They talked to LGBT+ young people who have had to leave home. And they found 55 local councils in England are insisting they obtain letters from their parents or guardians as ‘proof’’ of homelessness.
They spoke to young LGBT+ people who are not able to get the letter. And those young people reported their local council is not supporting them as a result. The authorities either refuse to believe they are homeless or label them as ‘intentionally homeless’.
Statistics from around the world have long shown that LGBT+ young people are particularly likely to end up homeless.
In many cases, this is because their parents reject them because of their sexuality or gender identity. Parents and guardians often cut off contact and refuse to help them.
Only 5% of councils have done LGBT+ homeless training
BBC Three says they contacted councils across the country. And of the 175 councils that responded only four said they ‘never’ contact LGBT+ people’s parents for proof that they have asked their child to leave home.
The investigation also spoke to young homeless people who say they were asked to get a letter even when they told the council they were victims of domestic abuse by their parents.
Between April 2019 and March 2020, the UK government has provided voluntary LGBT+ homeless training for local councils. It is supposed ‘to enable frontline homelessness workers to support the needs of LGBT rough sleepers’.
But the researchers found the vast majority of the 175 local councils they spoke to have not done this training. Only 9 councils said they had done specialist LGBT+ homeless training.
However, their reluctance to help may be because of huge funding pressures. English councils have seen budgets cut in recent years. And at the same time, homelessness and rough sleeping have rocketed across the country.
The Local Government Association says the ‘funding pressures’ are ‘increasingly’ limiting what the councils can do.
They also said that more than two thirds of councils are now being ‘forced’ to spend more than they budgeted for on homelessness.
Britain’s main LGBT+ homelessness charity, the Albert Kennedy Trust, says a quarter of homeless people under the age of 25 are LGBT+.
Moreover, their research suggests homeless LGBT+ young people are highly likely to have turbulent relationships with their parents or guardians. And 69% of LGBT+ homeless people have experienced familial rejection, abuse or violence.
You can listen to The Next Episode on Being LGBT And Homeless on BBC Sounds here.