Root causes investigated
Research commissioned by a Fife charity has identified a need to “right the wrongs” that result in LGBT people being at greater risk of homelessness.
Frontline Fife’s study has shed new light on the isolation, stigma and exclusion experienced by people in the LGBT community and has called for action to help them access the housing and support they need.
It also concludes that both the scale and needs of these people are being overlooked and misunderstood, leading to some being made homeless.
The research study, the findings of which have just been published, was carried out for the housing advice and support charity by Dr Briege Nugent, an independent research consultant and honorary research fellow at the University of Salford.
“This significant piece of work has been long overdue and we hope it will contribute to people in Fife’s LGBT community getting a fairer deal when it comes to homelessness support,” said Frontline Fife’s chief executive, Caryn Nicolson (pictured).
“As Dr Nugent says in her report, there has been little recognition of LGBT as a vulnerable population in relation to accessing housing. However, it’s clear from this research that many LGBT people are being disadvantaged solely because of their sexual identity.”
She added: “The findings of this research now need to be converted into action. We cannot allow these people to continue to be denied the housing support and provision available to others, simply because of stigma, prejudice and ignorance.”
Dr Nugent interviewed people from Fife’s LGBT community who are either homeless or have been at risk of homelessness as well as frontline housing support workers and Fife-based professionals who influence policy or service design. Of the gay, transexual and bisexual people interviewed, only one did not think that being LGBT was a factor in becoming or being at risk of homelessness.
In her report, Dr Nugent explained that relationship breakdown is one of the main reasons for homelessness in Scotland and Fife.
She wrote: “There is a need for greater understanding of this issue in relation to LGBT homelessness, particularly with regard to ‘coming out’. As this study has shown, in both the parental home and in adult partnerships, declaration of LGBT identity can be the trigger for relationship breakdown and consequent homelessness.”