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2015 National LGBT Conference
21 July 2015

Conference notes that the last government enacted housing and benefit policies which had a severe impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Conference is disheartened to find that, following the General Election, we now have a Tory government that is set to make things even worse, and for young LGBT people in particular.

Conference notes that:

1. The government plans to extend right-to-buy to include Housing Association properties;

2. Sale of these properties to private landlords could result in a significant increase in rents;

3. There is no planned like-for-like replacement for each Housing Association property sold;

4. The government has also indicated plans to stop Housing Benefit for 18-21 year-old jobseekers, as part of its programme of cuts to social security.

Conference is deeply concerned that young LGBT people, who are already at greater risk of homelessness due to violence in, and ejection from, the family home, will be put in an even more perilous position. Furthermore, continued cuts to local government will mean that local support services, on which LGBT people are heavily dependent, particularly outside major cities, will be further pared back. This was highlighted in the report commissioned by UNISON from the National Centre for Social Research, and published in 2013.

Conference notes the excellent work by the Albert Kennedy Trust for over 25 years in helping young LGBT people facing housing crisis. This work includes the Purple Door project, which provides safe accommodation specifically for young LGBT people in London and Greater Manchester. Conference applauds this work, but regrets that the cuts have left vulnerable people having to seek out appropriate support from charities and the community and voluntary sector instead of their local authority.

Conference therefore calls upon the national LGBT committee to:

A. Work with the national executive council, national self organised group committees, all relevant service groups and the Trades Union Congress to ensure that campaigns highlighting the effects of austerity measures and changes to housing and welfare benefit policy reflect the impact upon LGBT people in particular;

B. Work with UNISON branches to highlight the impact of local government cuts and changes in housing and benefit policy on young LGBT people;

C. Continue to support and promote the work of the Albert Kennedy Trust, and in particular the Purple Door project.