“It was horrible, it was terrible, I felt like nothing.”
This is the response from one LGBTI+ young person, when asked about what it felt like to experience homelessness.
The study set out, for the first time, to give voice to the topic of LGBTI+ youth homelessness in Ireland.
Over half of the LGBTI+ youth interviewed, as part of this study, experienced mental health challenges, including suicide ideation. The report highlights the double closet LGBTI+ youth who are homeless experience; feeling the need to hide not just their sexuality, but also the fact that they are homeless. This deeply impacts their mental health.
In BeLonG To’s frontline services, they witness a significant number of LGBTI+ youth living without a permanent home, and surviving by sleeping on friends’ sofas, squatting, or staying in other insecure or unsafe places. This group are difficult to identify, and, consequently, are often referred to as the ‘forgotten homeless’ or ‘hidden homeless.
In light of this research, the ‘Youth Homelessness Strategy’, committed to in the Programme for Government 2020, should include a ‘homelessness prevention’ pillar, with specific reference to the particular risks and pathways into homelessness which LGBTQI+ youth are likely to experience.
Nobody should have to choose between being who they are and having a safe place to live.