A new definitive guide aimed at helping lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people fight potential discrimination around their housing rights has been launched.
Charities Shelter Scotland and Stonewall Scotland have produced the guide focusing on the diverse needs of LGBT people and the challenges they face in finding and keeping a home.
According to Stonewall’s research, one in five gay and lesbian people believe they are likely to be treated worse than heterosexuals when applying for social housing. This figure rises to one in four among young (18-24) and older (over 55) gay people. Gay women believe they are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for social housing and an earlier survey reveals that only 16% of LGBT people think public services consider their needs when delivering services – including housing.
UK studies indicate that as many as 30% of young homeless people in urban areas are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. They have often been forced to leave home or have run away to escape bullying.
The Keeping a Roof Over Your Head guide, produced in partnership by the two charities, offers advice on finding somewhere to live, housing problems, evictions and repossessions, as well as the law and how to make a complaint about homophobic and transphobic behaviour from a landlord or neighbour.
Research by Stonewall Scotland shows that 61% of LGBT people have felt unsafe in the street with 30% expressing they’ve felt unsafe in their own home or neighbourhood.
Alan Wardle, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said:
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people do face particular issues with housing. Sadly, for some people, simply being gay can lead to homelessness. Young people may be thrown out of their homes or feel that the only way to escape homophobic or transphobic bullying is to run away.
“LGBT people of all ages experience harassment and violence in their neighbourhood. There is often some confusion, or lack of support, around how ending a long-term same-sex relationship or civil partnership can affect your housing rights. This guide aims to make housing information more relevant and accessible to LGBT people across Scotland, help them to know their rights and understand their housing choices.”
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, says:
“Research indicates that young LGBT people are more likely to be at risk of homelessness because of bullying at school, and rejection from the family home.
“Shelter Scotland believes that everyone has the right to a home they can thrive in – regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. In partnership with Stonewall Scotland we are proud to offer this guide which will go some way to help individuals and families facing discrimination or harassment.
“There are 300,000 gay people in Scotland, representing 6% of the population. Shelter Scotland is committed to ensuring that the diverse housing needs and challenges of LGBT people are recognised and understood. We encourage anyone facing housing and homelessness problems to contact Shelter Scotland through our website or over the phone to get confidential advice on housing matters.”