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Pride in Place: A dedicated Victorian program for LGBTQIAPSB+ people navigating homelessness

By Jordan Mendoza, Wednesday 24th April 2024 
 

About the author: I'm Jordan, a social worker with more than five years of experience across a wide range of clinical, program and government areas. When working with individuals, I take into account their whole person - that is, their background, their culture, their identities, their social networks and more. I'm passionate about increasing access to identity-affirming mental health services that are compassionate and kind to support healthy, well-connected living.

2 minute read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When most people think of the word “homeless,” they think about people sleeping on the street or on park benches. However, many of the people who face homelessness or even home insecurities remain out of sight of most people. Research shows that this cannot be more true than for the homeless or home insecure LGBTQIAPSB+ community as most are often invisible to researchers but also to support services.

 

Many LGBTQIAPSB+ people are forced to leave their home due to their family’s queerphobia, homophobia and/or transphobia. This risk is higher for those who have experienced family violence, family rejection, or impactful substance use. After losing stable housing, the experience of housing insecurity often looks different for the varying parts of the LGBTQIAPSB+ community. According to an Australian study conducted in 2021, bisexual individuals encountered home insecurity at an earlier age and are more likely to have repeated instances of homelessness than other LGBTQIAPSB+ groups (1). Another study found that trans and gender diverse people were more likely to experience family violence, which leads to a higher risk of housing and home insecurity (2).

Hand-in-hand with this, members of the LGBTQIAPSB+ community are twice as likely to experience discrimination that leads to mental health challenges than heterosexual, endonormative and cisgendered people (1), which means that it’s important to address the LGBTQIAPSB+ community’s mental health when providing housing services or other social services. 

In Victoria, exactly that is happening. The program Pride in Place offers LGBTQIAPSB+ people who face homelessness affirming services that address not only housing insecurity but also overall wellbeing services and connection to community.

The organisations leading this program include VincentCare Victoria, Drummond Street Queerspace Services, Family Access Network and Uniting.Vic.Tas. Any LGBTQIAPSB+ Victorian who is at risk of or experiencing homelessness are eligible for services, including crisis accommodation, funding or rent or accommodation. Individuals can also access case management, peer support and service navigation. Through the peer support program, people can be connected to those who have lived experience, which can be validating and affirming. Research has shown that people who are connected with their community, are more likely to be able to access support during mental health crises, as well as during times of housing insecurity/homelessness,which makes peer support particularly helpful.

The aim of the Pride in Place program is to provide affirming, and specialised housing services for LGBTQIAPSB+ Victorians to help them find and maintain a safe, healthy place to live. The Iceberg Foundation is a strong champion for the LGBTQIAPSB+ community, and we support the community to connect in with the Pride in Place program. Our doors are wide open for anyone who are looking for mental health support and sessions. If you would like to support accessing the Pride in Place service or other supports, please contact us and engage with a social worker.

References

(1) McNair, R., Parkinson, S., Dempsey, D., & Andrews, C. (2022). Lesbian, gay and bisexual homelessness in Australia: Risk and resilience factors to consider in policy and practice. Health & Social Care in the Community, 30(3). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/hsc.13439(

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2) Hail-Jares, K., Vichta-Ohlsen, R., Butler, T., & Byrne, J. (2021). Queer homelessness: The distinct experiences of sexuality and trans-gender diverse youth. Journal of LGBT Youth, 20(4), 757–782.

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