A quarter of the UK's homeless youth are LGBT

The shocking statistic shines a light on the vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bi and trans young people

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Homeless LGBT youth
Homelessness disproportionately affects LGBT youthsOsvaldo Gago via Flickr / Creative Commons

A quarter of the UK's homeless youth are LGBT, according to a groundbreaking new survey carried out by the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). According to the figures, young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans are more likely to end up on the streets than their hetero peers. Many were rejected from their family homes on account of their sexuality, while others were fleeing abusive households. 

The survey was carried out over 473 housing providers in England, Scotland and Wales and interviewed homeless youths between the ages of 16 and 26. The Albert Kennedy Trust discovered that LGBT people make up whopping 24 per cent of the homeless youth population in the country.

It also found that 69 per cent of homeless LGBT youth were forced out of their homes by their families. 69 per cent also said that mental, emotional or sexual abuse from a family member played a part in their homelessness, while another 62 per cent said that they had experienced aggression or physical violence at home. 

Homeless LGBT youth are also much more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to participate in substance abuse and fall prey to sexual exploitation on the streets.

This all makes for incredibly depressing reading, right? The Trust wants the government to do more by making it mandatory for housing providers to ask their users about their sexual orientation, allowing them to target LGBT individuals in need. It also wants staff to be trained properly on the needs of LGBT youth. 

"After 25 years witnessing the rejection and abuse of LGBT youth just for being brave enough to come out to their peers and family, this report is a much-needed call to action for government, housing providers, and everyone concerned with young peoples’ wellbeing," said Tim Sigsworth, CEO of AKT.

"Making a number of specific, achievable and cost-effective recommendations we hope to help others prevent lifetimes of youth homelessness and its enduring impact on mental, physical and emotional health."

Sigsworth also noted the reduction in government funding to housing providers has led to a drop in standards when it comes to caring for LGBT homeless people.

"The proportion of mainstream housing providers targeting services at LGBT homeless people has dropped from 11 per cent to 1 per cent between 2011 and 2013. Homeless people, in particular those who identify as LGBT, have multiple and complex needs, and agencies within the UK are offering increasingly generic support due, in part, to a reduction in funds."

With same-sex marriage now legal in England, Wales and Scotland, it's easy to think that life is getting better for all LGBT individuals. But it's the ones under the radar who are being neglected most. 

(h/t PinkNews)

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