Very little is known about the housing needs of LGBT*Q people, particularly with respect to social housing, whether provided by a housing association or local authority. Prima facie, the need to better engage with this issue is pressing on two-levels: (1) the LGBT*Q community are more likely than heterosexual or cisgender people to experience mental health issues (Guasp, 2012), homelessness (Albert Kennedy Trust, 2017, Mitchell et al 2013), and be a victim of hate crime and/or harassment as a result of their gender identity and/or sexuality (Chakraborti & Garland, 2015); (2) in relation to housing, marginalised communities by their very nature have differential needs in terms of relations with the local community, housing providers, and service providers. For example, it is suggested that LGBT*Q people feel that reports of harassment or the threat of homelessness are not taken seriously by housing providers, indicating a potential lack of concern with the specific problems and needs of LGBT*Q people (Gulliver & Prentice, 2014; King and Stoneman 2017).
The HomeSAFE (Secure, Accessible, Friendly, Equal) study, commissioned by HouseProud and funded by 6 housing associations, aims to find out more about the experiences and views of LGBT*Q residents in relation to their home, their landlord and their neighbourhood. The study brings to the fore challenging issues for social researchers, namely, how to make contact with LGBT*Q people in social housing, how to work alongside stakeholders and housing providers in a productive way, and how to develop an empirical and theoretical framework for situating this issue into a wider sociological context.
To date, the project has undertaken qualitative research with participants who were either interviewed in their home or who took part in one of the three focus groups. 17 participants took part with a range of gender and sexual identities. The project is also in the process of recruiting participants for an online survey in order to better capture a wider variety of experiences, concerns, and aspirations. The survey ends on 31st December and can be completed by any member of the LGBT*Q community living in social housing. The survey can be found here.
More information on the project can be found here where a project report will be available in 2018. You can also directly contact the project’s lead investigator Andrew King (University of Surrey) on firstname.lastname@example.org or Paul Stoneman (University of London, Goldsmiths) on email@example.com
Albert Kennedy Trust (2017) LGBT Homelessness: A UK National Scoping of Cause, Prevalence, Response, and Outcome. Downloaded 28/11/17 from: http://www.akt.org.uk
Chakraborti, Neil and Garland, Jon. 2015., Hate Crime. [online]. SAGE Publications. Available from:<http://www.myilibrary.com?ID=834206>
Guasp, A and Taylor, J. (2012) Mental Health: Stonewall Mental Health Briefing. Downloaded 20/01/17 from: http://www.stonewall.org.uk
King, A., & Stoneman, P. (2017). ‘Understanding SAFE Housing – putting older LGBT* people’s concerns, preferences and experiences of housing in England in a sociological context’ Housing, Care and Support, 20(3), 89-99 http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/HCS-04-2017-0010
Mitchell, M., Beninger, K., Rahim, N., and Arthur, S. (2013) Implications of austerity for LGBT people and services. Downloaded 28/11/17 from: http://www.natcen.ac.uk