Stonewall Housing, the UK’s only specialist LGBT housing, advice and support provider, celebrated its 25th anniversary at the end of 2008.
Founded in 1983, Stonewall Housing first opened a house in 1986 for eight young residents.
The organisation now supports 41 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people between 16 and 25 in six houses around North and East London.
Since its creation, Stonewall Housing has housed or advised over 12,000 people.
Although celebrating its foundation, Stonewall Housing also sent out a serious message about the continuing need for LGBT people with housing problems.
Since its inception, the organisation has found that half of its clients believe that their housing problems are directly related to their sexuality or gender identity.
20% who become homeless due to homophobia either sleep on the street or crash at the homes of friends or acquaintances.
A quarter of clients report homophobic harassment to Stonewall Housing, and one-fifth report that they have been victims of domestic abuse.
Consequentially, 80% of people who call Stonewall Housing are suffering from poor mental health.
Stonewall Housing said in a statement today:
“Even after 25 years, there is still a huge amount of work to do.
“We are looking into provisions for older LGBT people, and we also provide training on housing issues for LGBT people to mainstream organisations.
“We would also like to open more houses, as our waiting list is usually full.
“On to the next 25 years!”
The organisation also publicised a number of case studies detailing the situation of some of its clients.
One client, Jake, was living in a flat in South London when he began to experience homophobic comments from neighbours when he was seeing a partner.
He was later assaulted by local men.
Police and Victim Support wrote to his housing association requesting that he be moved elsewhere, but they refused and advised Jake instead to avoid behaving “in a way that may identify him as gay.”
With Stonewall Housing’s help, Jake was transferred to another property, and a complaint was made against his housing association, which eventually paid him compensation.