Spaces are open for referrals through partner organisations akt, Galop and Stonewall Housing
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY THE OUTSIDE PROJECT
London’s first LGBTQI-specific shelter, The Outside Project, is offering emergency hotel spaces for LGBTQI people experiencing homelessness or unsafe or unstable living situations. Located in central London, the hotel spaces will provide a safe space for the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQI community. Funded by the Homelessness Winter Transformation Fund, the project has managed to secure additional winter bed spaces for 2021.
Unfortunately, LGBTQI people have been hit hard during the pandemic. In 2021, the akt LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Report found that 64% of LGBTQI young people stated that homelessness made it hard for them to establish or maintain new relationships. Furthermore, 50% reported that before becoming homeless, they feared that expressing their identity to their family members would lead to their eviction.
A 24/7 service, The Outside Project has expanded throughout the pandemic, opening STAR Refuge and its new LGBTQI Community Centre in Borough. Those accessing the services will receive their own ensuite room alongside support provided by a majority LGBTQI-identifying team. Spaces are open for referrals through The Outside Project’s partner organisations akt, Galop and Stonewall Housing.
Carla Ecola, Founder and Director of The Outside Project, remarks: “It’s such a relief to have this service available to our community again this year in light of the ongoing covid pandemic. Thanks to our community again as ever who have made this possible and will undoubtedly continue to support us to support more marginalized members of our community who are in crisis. It’s great to be able to welcome back volunteers on our crew this year after only having staff on site during lockdown”.
Further, Jesse Ashman, Community Organiser at The Outside Project, states: “Winter is always a more dangerous time for people experiencing homelessness, and our community often does not have access to mainstream services. This can be due to multiple different forms of oppression, from not having gender-neutral bathrooms to overt homophobia, biophobia or transphobia, lack of a local connection or being ‘hidden homeless’. Providing LGBTIQ+ people with an identity responsive space to recover from their crisis point can be transformative and we prioritise responding to people’s needs and celebrating LGBTIQ+ identities, histories and achievements”.
To read more about The Outside Project, make a referral or to volunteer, please visit their website. Donations can be made here, and you can keep up with their work on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
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