DD2381 LGBT+ Homeless Support Pathway and Community Engagement (SPACE)

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2381
Date signed: 
19 August 2019
Decision by: 
Rickardo Hyatt, Assistant Director, Housing

Executive summary

The GLA commissions and funds a range of pan-London rough sleeping services, which collectively form the Mayor’s ‘Life off the Streets’ programme. This DD approves spending of £104,000 from the GLA budget to grant fund Stonewall Housing’s and the Outside Project’s community centre and night shelter for homeless LGBT+ people at the former Clerkenwell Fire Station. Part of the funding will be used to expand the support provided, via two additional staff members who will coordinate a new integrated referral pathway, support network and resettlement advice. The remainder will fund property-related running costs.

Decision

That the Executive Director of Housing and Land approves:

Expenditure of £104,000 for 12 months to grant fund Stonewall Housing and the Outside Project to run a LGBT+ homeless night shelter and community centre at the former Clerkenwell Fire Station.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

During 2018/19, 8,855 people were seen sleeping rough in London - more than double the number in 2010/11. Of these, 62 per cent of those were new to the street, 51 per cent were non-UK nationals, and 31 per cent were from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Around three-quarters had one or more support needs, with 50 per cent having a need related to mental health, 42 per cent alcohol, and 41 per cent drugs.

Since 2016, the Mayor has coordinated efforts through his ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ (NNSR) taskforce to identify, implement, lobby for, and monitor the effectiveness of interventions to tackle rough sleeping. In his London Housing Strategy, the Mayor set out his aim that there should be a sustainable route off the streets for every rough sleeper in London. In June 2018, he published his Plan of Action which outlines the steps that need to be taken by City Hall, the Government, and others to achieve this.

Since taking office, the Mayor has been expanding the pan-London rough sleeping services the GLA funds and commissions. These services collectively form his ‘Life off the Streets’ programme. They are services for rough sleepers, or initiatives to tackle rough sleeping, that cannot or would not be provided at a London borough level, as they are pan-London or multi-borough in their remit.

In June 2018, the Mayor made £50,000 of grant funding available to Stonewall Housing and the Outside Project in the second round of his Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund (RSIF), to help develop and test methods of safe shelter accommodation and a community centre for LGBT+ people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness (see MD2089).

This funding was made available in recognition of the specific homelessness issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBT+) people. LGBT+ people are at particular risk of homelessness, often due to family breakdown, and may disproportionately suffer physical, verbal and phobic harassment, domestic abuse and sexual exploitation . Both the Albert Kennedy Trust and Stonewall Housing have reported increases in young LGBT+ people being forced into homelessness by parental hostility, with the Albert Kennedy Trust seeing a 20 per cent rise in the numbers seeking its help with homelessness. An estimated 24 per cent of young homeless people are LGBT+ . Visible rough sleeping among LGBT+ people is relatively low, because of fears around safety and hate crime, which means that they are less likely to be engaged with services. There is a lack of LGBT+ appropriate refuge and shelter accommodation across London, and general services do not cater for LGBT+ needs. LGBT+ people often fear further discrimination and do not seek help. Appropriate refuge accommodation for LGBT+ is lacking and trans women often feel unsafe accessing women’s shelters . Accessing sustainable accommodation can be particularly challenging for LGBT+ people, with an estimated one in 10 LGBT people, and one in four trans people, who look for a house or flat to rent or buy each year discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity .

The night shelter and community space has been operating since December 2018 and recently moved to a new location at the former Clerkenwell Fire Station in Islington. It is the first and only service of its kind in the UK. As well as providing shelter accommodation, the project delivers holistic case work and support relating to housing and employment. To date, it has supported 55 people, including 42 people accommodated in the night shelter. Sixty per cent of people who accessed the night shelter have since been supported into secure move-on accommodation, preventing homelessness for this relatively hidden, hard-to-reach group. As the project is currently the only LGBT+ homeless service in the UK, the organisations are uniquely placed to deliver this initiative.

The £104,000 of GLA grant funding to Stonewall Housing and the Outside Project for 12 months approved by this DD will be supplemented by £54,000 of match funding secured by the two organisations.

The £104,000 will be spent as follows:

• £50,000 will fund wrap-around support via two new workers who will manage a new integrated referral pathway, support network and resettlement advice. This will increase the efficiency and capacity of the service, enabling it to increase the number of referrals, improve support and coordinate safe resettlement across their local authority partnerships; and
• £54,000 will fund property-related running costs of operating the project at the former Clerkenwell Fire Station. This includes the security, insurance, repairs/maintenance and utilities costs charged by the London Fire Commissioner (LFC). £54,000 is the maximum which Stonewall Housing and the Outside Project will be funded for this purpose, though the exact amount will be based on the actual costs charged by the LFC, as some costs (such as utilities) are variable. Therefore, the final amount of grant funding may be marginally lower than the £54,000.

Without this funding, the service would be unable to continue, with a consequent loss of unique specialist accommodation and support for a highly vulnerable group. The project aligns with the Mayor’s priorities that there should be a sustainable route off the street for everyone, with initiatives tailored for minority groups. An agreement that complies with the GLA standards and the Contracts and Funding Code will be written following approval of this decision.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The funding will help to ensure that:

• 150 LGBT+ people are referred to the service;
• 100 people receive a holistic support package;
• 75 LGBT+ homeless people are supported to move to safe, suitable accommodation; and
• support workers liaise with all 33 London boroughs, 10 homelessness agencies and 10 LGBT+ groups working with vulnerable people.

Equality comments

Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as public authorities, the Mayor and GLA are subject to a public-sector equality duty and must have ‘due regard’ to the need to (i) eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; (ii) advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not; and (iii) foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not. Protected characteristics under section 149 of the Equality Act are age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnership status (all except the last being “relevant” protected characteristics).

Almost a quarter of young homeless people identify as LGBT+.

Of those seen rough sleeping in 2018/19:

• 51 per cent were non-UK nationals;
• 50 per cent had a mental health need;
• 16 per cent were women;
• most of those seen rough sleeping (56 per cent) were in the 26-45 age group;
• eight per cent were under 26 years old; and
• 12 per cent were over 55.

Those with protected characteristics of sexual orientation and gender re-assignment are under-represented among recorded rough sleepers, whilst those with protected characteristics of mental health need are over-represented. However, as set out in paragraph 1.5, homeless LGBT+ people are more likely than others to be hidden and are less likely to engage with services. As the client group for these services is LGBT+ people with a history of sleeping rough and experience of hidden homelessness, the proposals in this paper are likely to have positive impacts on this group.

Other considerations

Key risks and issues

Risk description

 

Inherent risk

Mitigating action

 

Residual risk

Prob

Impact

Overall

Prob

Impact

Overall

Insufficient demand for the service

2

4

8

To date the night shelter has been at full capacity every night. This additional funding is to support an integrated referral pathway and to make contact with every London borough, improving partnership working and helping to increase referrals as more local authorities become aware of the project. This will ensure consistent demand across the capital.

 

The project has received significant press from numerous sources since its opening in December 2018 including interest from local authorities, LGBT+ groups, homelessness agencies and the media such as BBC, Buzzfeed, London Live, The Guardian, Time Out and Pink News. Stonewall Housing and the Outside Project will continue to publicise their service to raise awareness of its existence.

1

3

3

Lack of a permanent home for the service.

3

4

12

The current landlord of the property (London Fire Commissioner) will continue to make the property available for ‘meanwhile use’ until they dispose of the building.

The likely buyer of the property has also informally agreed that the property can continue as ‘meanwhile use’ until they are ready to rebuild.

1

2

2

Lack of suitable move-on accommodation available

3

4

12

To date, 60 per cent of clients who used the shelter have been supported into move-on accommodation.

In addition, Stonewall Housing and the Outside Project are seeking to develop partnerships with social landlords and share understanding of how best to support this vulnerable client group.

2

3

6

 

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The objectives of the proposals support

    • the Mayor’s London Housing Strategy policy 7.2;
    • the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Plan of Action; and
    • the pan-London Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2016 priorities 2, 3, 4 and 7.

Impact assessments and consultations

The London Housing Strategy was subject to a full public consultation and the Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2016+ was made available for consultation with key stakeholders and partners. Both were subject to a full equalities impact assessment.

Financial comments

This decision requests an approval to expend £104,000 to grant fund Stonewall Housing and the Outside Project to run the LGBT+ Homeless Support Pathway and Community Engagement (SPACE) project at the former Clerkenwell Fire Station between August 2019 and July 2020.

This grant will be funded from the Mayor’s core rough sleeping budget, with £77,725 funded from the 2019/20 budget and £26,275 funded from the 2020/21 budget.

Activity table

Milestones

Timeline

Funding agreement signed

19 August 2019

Project start date

19 August 2019

New staff members in post

1 November 2019

Project end date

31 July 2020


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