Report slams gay housing provisions

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Housing providers have a severe lack of knowledge of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) housing requirements, according to a study.

A report by Stonewall Cymru and Triangle Wales revealed gaps in housing provision for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people, which they blame on homophobia and low awareness of the needs of the gay community.

The Housing Needs of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People in Wales report will be discussed at the Stonewall Cymru Annual Conference on Saturday 8 April at County Hall, Cardiff, it is due to be launched in the summer.

Dr Alison Parken, director of Stonewall Cymru said: “This research demonstrates the vulnerability of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people who have been thrown out of their home when they ‘come out’ to family members.”

“Many feel unable to discuss the reasons behind being made homeless for fear of further discrimination, and may then be deemed to have made themselves intentionally homeless. From that point they do not have access to help.”

A respondent to the research from Mid Wales said of his experiences with a housing provider, “You tell someone you’re gay and that person may be very sympathetic, but the next person who you’re dealing with may not and it will go against you.”

Dr Parken added, “We are calling on local authorities, landlords and other housing providers to demonstrate a zero tolerance policy on homophobia and introduce a comprehensive policy that looks at the specific needs of LGB people.”

Dr Dani Boucher, South East Wales Co-ordinator, Triangle Wales said, “The next stage, following this research, is to develop a toolkit and training programme that will enable housing service providers to recognise and address the needs of LGB people in Wales.”

A spokeswoman from the Mid Wales Housing Association told “We don’t make any distinctions between who the partnership is between, there is total equality.”

She said staff were trained in equality and diversity throughout their time at the association.

However, she conceded that the practices across Wales may not be equitable, “If you asked the same questions to other associations you may not get the same answers.”

“This could be due to only very recent legislation on discrimination against LGBT people.”