Words: Steve Brown
More than £44,000 is spent each year on homeless LGBT youth, according to the Albert Kennedy Trust.
Three years after the leading UK homeless LGBT charity revealed that up to 24 per cent of young people at risk of homelessness identify as LGBT, with 77 per cent saying family rejection and abuse after coming out was the primary cause, the charity has conducted two new studies revealing the annual economic cost of homelessness per person.
Conducted by Dr Jason Schaub, the first study re-evaluted the cost per homeless person and found these prices vary from £19-43,000.
But the studies didn’t include additional issues associated with LGBT+ youth who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness – including the costs related to HIV and mental health needs.
According to the study, the result suggests that the annual cost per LGBT homeless person is roughly around £44, 812.
The second study found that young people are unwilling to use some services or disclose their sexual identity for fear they will be discriminated against.
It also found that nearly half of all homelessness services are not recording sexual identity and a third are not recording gender identity information.
Most respondents were found to be uncertain about where to direct an LGBT+ young person for appropriate support.
Tim Sigsworth, Chief Executive of AKT said: “We already know that LGBTQ+ youth are over represented amongst those at risk of homelessness and with our latest study it is critical that they do not remain invisible when mainstream providers deliver services, identify priority needs or plan provision.
“We are therefore calling for mandatory monitoring of gender and sexual orientation by public / publicly commissioned homelessness services nationally to better understand and be able to meet these unmet needs.
“We believe that while a strong focus on rough sleeping initiatives is extremely important, if we are to provide a sustainable solution to the issue of rising homelessness we need a complimentary focus on prevention and early action.
“AKT’s Purple Door emergency housing project and our digital support services - which reach young people just before or at the point of crisis, are examples of approaches which could be taken to significantly reduce the public health and welfare costs of medium to long term homelessness.”