LGBTQ+ Housing & Homelessness Survey

Homelessness – an extreme form of social marginalisation – has long been believed to be especially prevalent among LGBTQ+ people. UK law has, since 1977, defined homelessness in terms of being without access to an adequate, safe, and sustainable home – as having nowhere with a legal right to occupy, and/or is reasonable to occupy. Those who are homeless under UK law are, at least in England, Wales, and Scotland, likely to be entitled to at least some support and assistance from their Local Authority.

Understanding prevalence of homelessness among LGBTQ+ people, alongside which subgroups within the community are at risk of homelessness, is crucial to the development and delivery of effective services. However, while existing research on LGBTQ+ homelessness is extremely valuable in improving understanding of the experiences of this group, studies have tended to be small-scale and geographically specific, raising questions about the extent they can be generalisable for the whole population. Furthermore, existing work has been primarily concerned with youth homelessness, with those over age 25 largely invisible within
the research. Additionally, prior studies often use more limited definitions of homelessness than that accepted within UK law, meaning that they do not provide a good estimate of likely service demand.

To address these omissions, we surveyed 1118 LGBTQ+ people across the UK to specifically ask about homelessness. Using an understanding of homelessness drawn from UK law, we asked them about experiences at different points in their lives, and recent events known to be risk factors for homelessness, as well as whether they had ever made a homelessness application. We also asked them about where they would seek help if they became homeless, and what would encourage them to use homelessness services.

Author(s): Edith England, Neil Turnbull
Published: 19 June 2024
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