In October 2015, I was given notice to leave the home I had been living in for a year, I had been essentially sofa surfing since 2012. I had support from MindOut an LGBT Advocacy Charity In Brighton and Hove, I had support from Pavilions a drug counselling service and Mankind who are probably the only charity offering support for males who have been sexually abused.
How did Brighton and Hove City Council fail to prevent my homelessness?
Being a previously looked after child I was under the care of social services since the age of two years old, my family were considered vulnerable due to both my parents being previously looked after children, following a mental health breakdown I again went to the local authority for help to prevent me becoming street homeless.
When I completed the homelessness application form, I ensured that I made the council fully aware of my vulnerabilities and provided ample evidence to support my application, their was a recent supreme court ruling which stated that;
The court said councils assessing the needs of single homeless people should compare them with an “ordinary person” rather than another homeless person.
In my case I had a one to one meeting with a housing options advisor who kept stating that I needed to prove I was more vulnerable than the ‘average homeless person’ which used to be the “vulnerability test” local authorities measured vulnerability on, needless to say, the advisor failed to prevent my homelessness because she judged me on the old rules and n my opinion took the wrong decision.
I had to get legal advice because by failing to prevent my homelessness, I was forced to live in a 1 bedroomed flat, which was occupied by four other people, making me person number five.
In a review, a more senior member of staff quickly overturned the decision and accepted me as vulnerable and in priority need, I was offered a section 193 duty to house and placed into emergency accommodation.
A Freedom Of Information Request Shows Homosexuals Have The Lowest Percentage Of Homelessness Accepts Of Any Minority Group.
Download the full PDF data here: minority_report_homelessness
My argument for Brighton and Hove is this, Why do other major LGBT communities have specific supported accommodation for the LGBT minority groups, yet Brighton and Hove have nothing?
I think this is a disgrace and something the LGBT community must unite and fightback against, we know that statistically serial killers mostly target Women and gay men, yet the council feel that only 23% of gay men are vulnerable and accepted them as homeless?
The councils homelessness strategy states the following;
Our Priority Groups and Issues:
Rough Sleepers, Welfare Reform, Military Veterans & Serving Personnel, Discharge from hospital and other care settings, Young people 16 – 25, Accessing Health Services, People with Learning Disabilities & Autism People living in Supported accommodation, People with Physical and Sensory Disability, People living in Temporary Accommodation, LGBT Community, BME Community, People with Substance Misuse issues, Violence against Women & Girls. Domestic Violence, People with Mental Health Offenders, People who need housing and floating support, People who need support with Work and Learning.
In the Next Brighton and Hove LGBT Safety Forum
I want us as a community to come together and fight this discrimination, we should lay out plans for more priority, many vulnerable LGBT people who face homelessness have other vulnerabilities which are going unnoticed.
We need to push for more emergency accommodation for the LGBT community, ones which ensure members of our LGBT Community are able to feel safe. Even in 2016 we still have homophobia, transphobia, violent attacks against our community and they the council decide to only accept 23% for homelessness applications.
I’ve heard of a specific case which is absolutely disgusting, why LGBT charities aren’t lobbying for more action? why is a transgendered refugee who has fled Iraq due to the prejudice and fear for her life, being victimised, harassed and kicked out of her emergency accommodation when we should be keeping her safe.
If you are LGBT? Have you faced homelessness in the last 5 years in Brighton and Hove? Do you have a story you want to tell? Did the council fail you?
Email me I want to help.
The Sooner the City faces up to the LGBT Housing Crisis We Are Facing and takes appropriate action the better! failure to do so in my opinion means we need a new approach which does mean A Change At The Top.
Certain staff at the council have been in specific roles for sometime with no results, we need change and more public scrutiny. For too long these faceless, unelected bureaucrats have been failing to protect the vulnerable.