Adjournment- LGBTI Homelessness

7 Jun 2017

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My adjournment matter is for the minister for housing. The action I seek is for the minister to develop and implement an LGBTI homelessness action plan to address the high rates of LGBTI people who are homeless and to improve their access to homelessness services. LGBTI communities are over-represented in homelessness statistics. According to latest ABS data, 33.7 per cent of lesbian and gay people have experienced homelessness compared to 13.4 per cent of heterosexuals. As the Victorian Greens LGBTI spokesperson I have met with a number of young people who are same-sex attracted, transgender or gender diverse who have shared with me some horror stories when it comes to accessing homelessness services. I would like to acknowledge and thank the members of Minus18 and Ygender who were willing to meet and share their stories with me directly.

Research has found that discrimination, including experiences within services, has been a major contributing factor and obstacle to accessing safe and appropriate service provision. In the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 faith-based homelessness providers are granted an exemption from laws to protect people from discrimination based on their sexuality, sex or gender identity. With a majority of homelessness services in Victoria being faith based this can be a barrier to LGBTI people accessing services, as they may have already faced discrimination as a cause of their homelessness, leaving them less likely to access services and with no recourse should they feel discriminated against.

I have also met with key researchers and other stakeholders within both the LGBTI and homelessness sectors who have confirmed that LGBTI people are disproportionately affected by homelessness and that homelessness services do not have adequate training or resources to deal with the special needs of this community. There is also a clear need for further research and understanding of homelessness within the LGBTI communities. I urge the minister to act on this matter.

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