This collaborative, Victorian-based project is designed to understand the drivers into and out of homelessness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. Initiated by the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia GALFA the research commenced at the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne in January 2016.  The specific aims are to:

  • Identify contributors and pathways into and out of homelessness for LGBTI people
  • Investigate the experiences of current homelessness service provision
  • Look at current practice and best practice for homelessness services to be LGBTI inclusive
  • Make the project findings available to influence homelessness and mental health policy initiatives, services, and training on specific issues for LGBTI people.

Our methods so far include hearing perspectives of staff at selected service providers, hearing perspectives of people who identify as LGBTI and have experienced homelessness, and conducting a secondary data analysis of the national Journeys Home survey.

In August 2016, we also secured funding from Community Sector Banking to develop and pilot a co-designed model of care specifically to support trans and gender diverse people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness in Victoria. Four distinct sites within a major mainstream homelessness service provider (Launch Housing) were chosen for this pilot, including an initial access point, women’s only crisis accommodation, mixed crisis accommodation, and a youth-focused service. The model of care will be informed by:

  • Existing data collected through the LGBTI homelessness research project
  • A community reference group
  • International best practice, and
  • The Rainbow Tick accreditation scheme for training on LGBTI inclusivity, which is designed to ensure inclusive LGBTI practice in health services.

Recently, we were fortunate to receive a grant from VicHealth in order to pilot a state-wide LGBTI safe housing network. Building on existing models, and using a Housing First approach, the overarching aim of this project is to enable LGBTI people at any age who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness (including after exiting care) to find safe, sustainable accommodation, build social connections, and access support, leading to improved mental health and wellbeing. More details about this project and steering group will posted in coming months.

LGBTI homelessness project components

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