Housing

London’s first LGBTQ+ homeless shelter is opening its doors

Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project have teamed-up to provide the shelter with funding from Sadiq Khan’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund

LGBT

London hosted its annual Pride parade celebration last weekend – but it has been without a permanent LGBTQ+ homeless shelter until now.

The Outside Project is changing that, after teaming-up with Stonewall Housing to offer a place of respite for rough sleepers who identify as LGBTQ+ — up to 24 per cent of the nation’s young rough sleeping population, according to The Albert Kennedy Trust.

The Dagenham-based project has previously existed on wheels, using Metallica’s old tour bus to offer shelter for homeless people in the English capital as part of a successful pilot last winter.

But they will be given the chance to put down roots after securing funding from London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund. Being housed in a building will offer more than just relief from life on the streets with a cultural and artistic hub, a café space, pop-up businesses and co-working space for marginalised groups.

Carla Ecola, founder of The Outside Project said: “We welcome the support of the Mayor’s office following a year-long campaign driven by London’s LGBTQ+ activist, artist & homeless community. We look forward to building on our work with Stonewall Housing, in solidarity with our community & the inspiring LGBTIQ+ centres & services that exist in London.”

Rough sleepers will also be given the opportunity to connect with Stonewall Housing’s wrap-around support network, offering holistic casework and advice as well housing and employment support.

Bob Green OBE, CEO of Stonewall Housing, said: “LGBT+ people are more at risk of sleeping on the street and often avoid mainstream services so we are looking forward to working with the Greater London Authority and other projects that they are funding through this initiative in order to support more LGBT+ people to find safe housing and to access a range of services and social networks through the community space where they can celebrate their identity and achieve their full potential.”

Image: Flickr/Garry Knight

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