Many LGBTI people around the world are victims of persecution and violence because of their sexual or gender identity or intersex status. They face imprisonment or the death penalty just because of who they are and who they love. Those who can, leave their countries behind and come to the UK to seek safety. However, when they come to the UK they are not safe and they face several challenges. One of these challenges is homelessness.
LGBTI people seeking asylum are often not safe when placed in housing with people from their home countries, or those people whose religious and cultural backgrounds hold extreme homophobic and transphobic views. They have reported being bullied and assaulted by other refugees with whom they share accommodation. They are often forced to choose homelessness to facing this violence. In turn, homelessness exposes them to further situations of abuse and violence.
In our experience the abuse that LGBTI asylum seekers face in accommodation pushes many to become homeless at a critical point in life: when they try to save their lives and to secure their right to stay in the UK. This is why Micro Rainbow’s safe housing project is so vital.
Micro Rainbow decided to create safe homes where LGBTI asylum seekers can be safe whilst they go through the gruelling asylum process. We now operate five safe homes, three in the London area and two in Birmingham and the West Midlands. We can provide up to 7,300 bed-nights a year.
What you can do to help this Christmas
Running the safe houses and providing the extra support that LGBTI asylum seekers need is expensive. However, together we can make sure that each person receives adequate bedding, food and clothing.