Are Homeless Homosexuals In Brighton and Hove Being Discriminated Against?

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.

Table of Equal Opportunities Data for Homelessness
Just 23% of all Gay Homelessness Applications from 2013 -2015 were accepted, compared to 37% accepted for heterosexuals.

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.


Add me on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to My Youtube Channel.

Its a Mad World out there for Children in Care. Voices Matter Cover the Gary Jules version

Last year when I had a mental breakdown following 6 days of mania, confusion, paranoia, Euphoric highs, I was literally on high alert, I had an over active mind and I crashed into a depressive state.  Then I found the Rees Foundation, a charity for previously looked after children, care leavers.

Who are Rees Foundation?     download

Only a few years young this national charity goes further than many across the country, they help to empower care leavers of any age, I am 32 and Nattylyn another service user is 36 they have supported us, linked us to each other and provided us with respite from our difficult and stressful lives right now.

If you have left care and feel ready to truly move forward in life and dream again then the Rees Foundation is for you,  Afshan the Project Development Manager, initially contacted me, she LISTENED. A few months back I got invited to a Revolution event organised by Rees Foundation, and met other care leavers like myself, we looked at personal development, education and employment.

It was such a great day and an experience I will remember forever, I met some lovely people who finally understood me and I understood them.

On the train journey home, I started singing and someone said you have a good voice, I rebutted the compliment as I struggle to accept them, we all started singing and I was like we should do a Rees Foundation Choir. Little did I know Voices Matter were born.

Voices Matter Perform Mad World at the Big Sing Off 2016.

Performance Image Four People on Stage
Voices Matter Performing Mad World (Left to Right: Nattylyn, Zion, Daniel & Carlena)

The audience was 700 strong, the atmosphere was fun, emotional and energetic, full of happy children currently living in care and full of foster mums and dads.

Remember from my own experiences what you see in front of you with one of these kids is not what they have experienced, all of these kids have suffered trauma of some sort, some were sexually abused like me, some were simply not wanted or taken away from voilent homes or abusive parents.

One child said “this is the best day of my life’

He wasn’t wrong I had an absolutely amazing time and some very much needed fun and relaxation. There was Greg a care leaver on the KeyBoard (out of sight) Zion, Son or Nattylyn (a care leaver) Carlena (Care Leaver) and Myself and a special appearance from another care leaver Ian.  Below is the performance, this was arranged only a few weeks ago and we had our first rehearsal the day before, we had no sound check on the day, but we had so much fun!!!

Just like at the Full Council Meeting, this performance took me outside my comfort zone, I was bricking it, the last time I was on stage was 14 years ago.

How Did I Feel After The Performance……AMAZING!!!

It was hard to leave that special day behind and come back to the emergency accommodation I am in, after becoming diagnosed last week with Bipolar whilst I am happy to have a reason for being the way I am, I have a fresh determination to push forward and expose the conditions in these places and the scandal of what it is doing to care leavers like me.

We need to push for better services for children in care and care leavers because we have a voice and our Voices Matter.

As always you can find out more about the voices matter project by clicking here. Contact me by clicking me here I also welcome to comment below.

Finally I never ask for personal support, however the Rees Foundation rely on Grants and Donations, if you were touched by this then head over to the Rees Foundation Website and donate and help us care leavers to continue doing this every year.

Picture gallery of the Day will be uploaded soon.

Blessings

Daniel

Voices-Matter
Left to Right: Nattylyn, Daniel, Carlena & Jim. Big Sing Off 2016 Singing Waltzing Jan to celebrate Jan Rees’s OBE Award in this years New Years Honours Lust for Services to Children.

What Support Services Are Available in Brighton and Hove for Care Leavers?

How I Started My Journey

When I initially started my journey of self discovery about six months ago, I would have described myself as being in serious personal crisis, having already come to terms with my addictions the next step was for me to find services locally in Brighton and Hove.

The main areas in my life I needed support with were:

  • Drug addiction
  • Mental illness
  • Housing and homelessness advice
  • Mentoring
  • Therapy / Counselling
  • Having my voice heard
  • Building new social and professional networks
  • Dealing with the past

The Late Great Lewis Carroll – Brighton and Hove based author of Alice in Wonderland once said.

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

I have asked myself this question many times, in fact I have many questions about the past which need answers to, some I already have many I still need.

Counselling

Over the years I have thought about having counselling, as a gay man who was previously looked after, I have many issues and significant life events which need evaluating.

I have developed a self awareness around what my personal challenges are, I even understand how these challenges and events have affected me, what I didn’t have were the tools to evoke change and move on.

I discovered that their is help out there for someone like me, this started in the form of drug rehabilitation.

Pavilions – Drug and Alcohol Services for People in Brighton & Hove

I initially contacted pavilions in August 2015, I had hit rock bottom and wanted to do something about the addiction, I wanted to change the addiction made me lose control of myself and ultimately took over my life.

I met Gary Smith who is a LGBT support worker, Gary was great our weekly sessions enabled me to set realised goals to achieve, I wasn’t expected to go straight into detox although this was offered.

Just knowing I had Gary helped me manage and explore my reasons for my substance misuse, which turned out to be connected to my other underlining issues described above in bullet points.

The service is fully confidential, Pavilions offer one to one support, group therapy and peer support, they have an on site nurse who can assist with any medication you may require to help you win your battle. The service is an important step for anyone looking to move on in life, no matter what your sexuality is.

You can call Pavilions on 0800 014 9819.

Pavilions

I also use Mankind which I will discuss in a later post.

Have you used pavilions before? did you find this article useful? are their any services you have used locally you want me to highlight? I welcome comments and contributions.

Blessings

Daniel x