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News 16 February 2018 l Equality & diversity

New study examines experiences of LGBT+ people living in social housing

In the largest study of its kind undertaken in the UK, researchers from the University of Surrey and Goldsmiths, University of London have found that nearly 50 per cent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBT+) people living in social housing accommodation do not feel a sense of belonging in their local community, while over a quarter report feeling lonely in the area they live.

The research was commissioned by HouseProud, the national network for LGBT professionals in the housing sector. It was funded by six of the largest housing associations in the country - Clarion Housing Group, Genesis Housing Association, Hanover Housing Association, L&Q, Optivo and The Riverside Group. It entailed a series of interviews, focus groups and surveys, with more than 260 LGBT+ people living in social housing asked about their experiences.

Among the findings was the revelation that that 60% of trans people and more than a third of LGBT+ people do not feel safe in their neighbourhood. Researchers also found that many LGBT+ participants were concerned about inviting people into their home who they didn’t know, with 21% being uncomfortable with repairs people and 25% feeling uneasy with their landlord entering their property.

Encouragingly, participants in the study reported positive practices by housing providers in engaging with their LGBT+ tenants. This included examples of landlords actively listening and putting residents in contact with appropriate support services or organisations, as well as employing a social inclusion officer or LGBT+ specific support officer.

Launching the report, the Joint Chairs of HouseProud, Kevan Forde from Hanover and Lynne Nichols from Clarion said: 'Up to now, social landlords have struggled to hear the voices of LGBT*Q residents. This has led to some confusion in the sector about the concerns and preferences of LGBT*Q residents, particularly in relation to their housing needs.

'HouseProud welcomes the findings of this study and will support housing providers to identify the practical steps that could help to address the issues highlighted in the report. We would like to thank the funding housing associations, who helped to make this study possible and the dozens of other providers, who spread the message about the research.'

The full report can be viewed here.