On 7th December MRI opened a second safe house for LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. At any given time, MRI can now support eight LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees who are homeless or struggling with accommodation.
LGBTI asylum seekers are often not safe if they are placed in housing environments with people from their own home countries, or those people whose religious and cultural backgrounds hold extreme homophobic and transphobic views. Non-cisgender lesbians and gays, trans and intersex people often suffer from higher levels of violence and abuse.
In MRI’s experience the abuse that LGBTI people face in accommodation re-traumatises them and people have reported experiencing the same fears that they felt in their home countries. LGBTI asylum seekers have told us that rather than share accommodation where they face, or fear abuse they would risk homelessness and destitution living on the streets.
The first MRI safe house which opened in October 2017 currently supports three LGBTI asylum seekers and a refugee. Some of them faced physical and sexual abuse in their previous accommodation. Some were homeless, slept rough and suffered from depression. MRI plans to increase its capacity to 40 beds by the end of 2018.