Tory Housing Policy and its Impact on the LGBT Community

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2015 National LGBT Conference
23 July 2015

Conference believes that it is a human right for everyone to have a safe, secure and affordable home.

Conference notes with alarm that the Tory Emergency Budget in July was a horrendous attack on the most vulnerable and poorest in our society. It shows that the Tories are celebrating their small majority Government with a bigger axe to welfare and the public sector.

Conference is deeply concerned with the announcement that Housing Benefit is to be removed from those aged 18 to 21. Conference believes this is a heinous act that will disproportionally impact on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

It is well known that younger members of the LGBT community suffer most from family rejection and this often leads to them becoming homeless. Statistics from the Albert Kennedy Trust shows:

1. LGBT young people make up around a quarter of the homeless community;

2. LGBT young people are more likely to have experienced abuse and family rejection;

3. Whilst homeless, they are much more likely to experience targeted violence, sexual exploitation, substance misuse and physical and mental problems than other homeless youths;

Add to this the one in four trans people that are forced to leave their homes and often become homeless because of transphobia from family members, room mates or neighbours.

Conference further believes that this situation is compounded by the unprecedented cuts to public services. These cuts have decimated specialist, targeted support services resulting in LGBT people being isolated and without the support they need to maintain accommodation.

Conference is not convinced that the most vulnerable will be protected from the worst of this Tory Government.

Conference therefore, calls on the national LGBT committee to:

A. Condemn the Tory budget as an attack on the most vulnerable and an attack on equality;

B. Work with sympathetic organisations to carry out a full equality impact assessment of the budgets impact on the LGBT community;

C. Work with UNISON’s “There for You” highlighting the assistance that we can offer members;

D. Work with the Albert Kennedy Trust to raise awareness of the impact of homelessness on the LGBT community and how regions and branches can support this work;

E. Work with the Albert Kennedy Trust to have a LGBT perspective and UNISON input into World Youth Homeless Matters Day on 15 April;

F. Lobby all sympathetic Members of Parliament (MP’s) to challenge and oppose this change to Housing Benefit for 18 to 21 year olds;

G. Work with Labour Link to lobby Labour MPs to oppose this change and provide effective opposition to this Tory’s anti-equality agenda;

H. Produce campaigning materials around homelessness and the LGBT community for regions and branches to enable to challenge these proposals whilst supporting those impacted by them.