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  • Date: 31/08/2023

Honeycomb Group expand homelessness support for local LGBTQ+ community following Stoke-on-Trent City Council funding.

Last month, Honeycomb Group, with support from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, secured funding from the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative to expand homelessness support within the LGBTQ+ community.

In April,our homelessness charity Concrete launched an LGBTQ+ support hub including a helpline which delivers tailored support for people struggling with sexuality and gender issues, alongside homelessness and complex need.

Since its launch in April, the hub has supported over 50 local people with advice, housing support and guidance from volunteers who have lived experience.

Stonewall research shows almost ‘1 in 5 LGBT people have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives’[1] and according to AKT, ‘77% of LGBTQ+ young people gave “family rejection, abuse or being asked to leave home’’ as a cause of their homelessness’.[2]

Concrete Community Housing Operations Manager Dean Marsh believes the research and stats highlight the need for tailored support, he said: “being rejected by family and asked to leave your home is an incredibly traumatic, isolating and has a huge impact on that person and their family. By bringing people together and sharing advice from those who have been through the same thing, our support hub is providing comfort and helping people rebuild their futures.

“No one should be rejected or forced to leave their home because of who they love and who they are but sadly it is happening. More support is needed to help the LGBTQ+ community, especially those finding themselves street homeless and most at risk.”

Following a co-produced application with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Government’s Rough Sleeping Advisors, Honeycomb Group was awarded with funding to secure an LGBTQ+ Caseworker. The Caseworker will support members of the LGBTQ+ community who are, or have been, homeless. They will provide wraparound support including housing advice and options, advocacy and more, with the ultimate goal of securing a safe and secure place to live.

Honeycomb Group Chief Executive Julie Guildford Smith welcomes the funding and is proud to see the Group leading the way for innovative, people-centred services within the city. She said “it’s easy to find LGBTQ+ support groups and homelessness services across Staffordshire but there isn’t specific support for the LGBTQ+ community experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“I am incredibly proud to see Concrete and Honeycomb Group leading the way and continuously looking for opportunities to expand support for people living in our neighbourhoods. 

“We’re delighted to receive funding from the Rough Sleeping Initiative and hope to see the service replicated across other cities soon.”

Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “Our teams work extremely hard to make sure that our residents are safe, supported and looked after. It is not just about getting people off the streets, it’s about helping them to address serious, and sometimes complex issues, and providing them with ongoing support as they start to rebuild their lives.

“We are pleased to have been able to assist Honeycomb Group with this funding from the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative and are committed to working with them now, and in the future, to provide much-needed help to the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

To find out more about the Phoenix support hub, please click here