Wales

Homelessness: Call to identify young LGBT people at risk

Homeless person Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Official figures say 2% of the Welsh population identifies as LGBT

A charity has called for a scheme to identify young LGBT people at risk of homelessness in Wales.

Figures seen by the Gareth Lewis programme on BBC Radio Wales suggest 9% of under-25s using Llamau's supported housing identified as LGBT.

Official figures say 2% of the wider Welsh population identifies are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The Welsh Government said it was investing £10m this year, specifically aimed at tackling youth homelessness.

Llamau's deputy chief executive Sam Austin said: "It would be a really simple questionnaire that every young person would do when they are 12 or 13 in secondary school.

"It will identify those most at risk of becoming homeless and those who need a watchful eye kept on them."

Ms Austin said similar schemes in Australia and Canada saw a 40% reduction in youth homelessness.

Eighteen-year-old Jonathan - not his real name - left home after the relationship with his family broke down when he came out as gay when he was 14.

He has just moved into his first flat after leaving home, but was previously sleeping at friends' houses, in hostels or on the streets.

Image caption Jonathan left home after a breakdown with his family over his sexuality

"Most of my family were surprised [when I came out]... but they were quite stand-offish with me afterwards.

"I tried to explain things to them and open their minds to have a different perspective, but they were fixed in their ways and they didn't change their ways.

"We would argue a lot, especially over sexuality."

Jonathan said he slept rough "a few times" when he was 16.

He added: "I remember I got kicked out for a night and no one would offer me a place to stay.

"I slept in a primary school in a little hut, in a little play area and then the next day I had an English exam. It wasn't the best."

Jonathan said he has not ruled out a reconciliation with his family and hopes to go to university.

He has hope for other people in his position: "I believe education is the way forward to change people's mindset and accept others more easily.

"And maybe it will come to a place when people don't even have to come out. They just bring their partner home."

A spokesman said as well as the £10m fund, the Welsh Government had "allocated £250,000 for a targeted communications programme to ensure young people, including those who identify as LGBTQ+ are aware of their rights and support services available to them".

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