The LGBT youth homeless charity the Albert Kennedy Trust has announced the launch of its ‘Purple Door’ housing project for LGBT young people facing homelessness.

The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), now in its 23rd year, is a service that supports young LGBT people who have been forced from their homes because of their sexuality, offering shelter, mentoring, and care.

The project entitled ‘Purple Door’ consists of two housing initiatives to be launched in both London and Greater Manchester

It is currently being supported by actors and patrons of AKT, Sir Ian Mckellen and Charlie Condou.

In London, AKT has collaborated with Circle 33 Housing Trust to open the UK’s first LGBT specific safe house which is designed for the 76 per cent of young people in the city escaping domestic violence and hate crimes as a result of coming out.

In Greater Manchester, AKT has worked in partnership with Threshold and the New Charter Housing Group to open a four-bedroom 6-12 month supported housing project, which is the first in the northwest exclusively for LGBT young people.

‘Purple Door’ will also help young people find their way into education, employment and training, and equip them with the skills they need to live independently through a tenancy training program.

AKT Founder Patron Cath Hall has stated that the project is the realisation of a “long held dream”.

Charlie Condou, who joined the AKT as a patron last year said: “The AKT already does such incredible work with LGBT youth but the opening of the Purple Door House marks the start of a new and exciting era for us.

“We are now able to offer young homeless LGBT people immediate refuge, and this is largely down to fundraising and donations.

“Please continue to support the AKT wherever possible so we see more of these invaluable houses in the future”.

AKT Chief Executive Tim Sigsworth also said: “This is an historic day for AKT as we open our Purple Door project in London and Manchester.”

He added: “Despite ten years of progressive legislation which has enabled young LGBT people to feel more confident to come out at an early age –we are still seeing several hundred young people each year coming to us facing issues such as homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, domestic violence, forced marriage and bullying.

“Mainstream housing services do not provide the focussed, comprehensive and tailored support that these young people need, and demand for our services has risen by 30 per cent in recent years.

“With the launch of Purple Door, we can now help more of these young people and we are immensely grateful to our partners, donors and supporters for making this day happen.”

Sir Ian McKellen, who has been a patron of the Trust since 2007, stated in March that every anti-gay religious leader in the country is to blame for “turning our kids onto the street when their parents listen to the ridiculous remarks that they make.”