Homelessness amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and allied people

There has been very limited research in Australia regarding homelessness amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and allied people (LGBTI), and yet it is a growing issue. Homelessness services report that there is an over-representation of LGBT people accessing support and housing. This is supported by data from the 2014 General Social Survey of 12,932 people which found that 13.4% heterosexuals had ever been homeless compared with 20.8% bisexual people and 33.7% lesbian/gay people.

This project is coordinated by the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia (GALFA), which is a national philanthropic group, in collaboration with an advisory group of key stakeholders, chaired by Dr Ruth McNair. It commenced in January 2016 with the appointment of Dr Cal Andrews as research assistant. Initial funding of $40,000 came from several sources including GALFA, the Australian Communities Foundation, the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation and Hanover (now Launch Housing). The team has just been successful in securing $20,000 from Bendigo Bank Social Investment grants and $20,000 from the Victorian Government.

The project integrates mainstream homelessness theory and definitions with a health inequalities framework. Homelessness is broadly understood as:
A complex, multifaceted, historically contingent, structural and cultural problem, and a  human rights issue, that disproportionately affects the LGBTIQ population. It is caused (at  least in part) and compounded by social processes that marginalise and oppress, including  homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination.

We aim to describe the unique and specific contributors to homelessness for LGBTI people via
a.secondary data analysis from a range of available Australian datasets, including the LGB people in the Journeys Home study.
b.interviewing homelessness services regarding needs, risk factors, pathways, challenges, and best practice for LGBTI clients
c.interviewing LGBTI people who have experienced homelessness

The Bendigo grant is to develop and pilot a model of care for trans and gender diverse people accessing homelessness service. We also aim to use our findings to influence policy and LGBTI inclusive practice more broadly in the sector.