To mark Pride Month 2024, Emmaus UK recognises that, while there has been progress in LGBTQ+ rights and the improved quality of life for millions of people, the community continues to face significant challenges, including homelessness and access to safe, affordable housing.

Becoming homeless can often leave people feeling excluded, isolated and vulnerable. For many LGBTQ+ people, this is often worsened by fears of discrimination, abuse, or simply “not fitting in”. This is not without reason.

Research by Stonewall has shown that around 20% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people will experience homelessness at some point in their lives, and a quarter of trans people will experience the same.

A major cause of this is people being thrown out of their family homes when their sexuality or gender identity becomes known, or people forced to leave home because they feel threatened by the people they live with.

But even when LGBTQ+ people find themselves with nowhere to call home, issues around discrimination and hate crime continue. Research from numerous LGBTQ+ charities has shown that members of the community who are sleeping rough experience more violence, threats and abuse than others.

Finding support at Emmaus

People who face these situations might also be reluctant to ask for support. That’s why Emmaus UK wants to send a clear message to LGBTQ+ people experiencing or at risk of homelessness: you are welcome here.

Local Emmaus charities across the UK, known as ‘communities’, offer welcoming, safe spaces for everyone. Moving to a community offers people a supportive environment where they can feel a sense of belonging, whilst working towards a positive future.

Leo, who is one hundreds of people we support with accommodation and opportunities each year, said he was “apprehensive at first” looking for help as a homeless gay person.

“I was emailing a lot of organisations when I was sofa surfing and Emmaus Gloucestershire was recommended,” he said.

Reflecting on his concerns before joining the community, he added: “Would they be welcoming? Would I fit into the community? Everyone of course behaves differently, but I was worried because I’m gay and so effeminate in most of my ways.”

But once Leo arrived, he immediately felt welcomed, supported, and accepted for who he is.

“I’ve felt so welcomed here and I don’t feel restricted. I’m open about being gay and they have all welcomed me,” he said.

Read Leo’s full story here.

Leo wants to share his story to show that homeless LGBTQ+ people can get access to the right support at Emmaus and elsewhere, and to remind them not to lose hope.

“I rarely talk about these things, but I feel so happy here that I wanted to share my story to tell the world and everybody out there in the LGBTQ+ community; if you’re homeless, it’s not the end of the world and you will find help.

“Rejection is part of everyday life as an LGBTQ+ person, but you have to try. There are organisations like Emmaus that you can reach out to for help and feel comfortable at.

“I’m gay, and I was welcomed to Emmaus without question.”

Get support from Emmaus today.

Finding support elsewhere

We have listed specialist homelessness services that work with LGBTQ+ people below.

Stonewall Housing – A leading national charity supporting LGBTQ+ people of all ages in the UK who are experiencing homelessness or living in an unsafe environment.

akt – A charity for young LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness. Its aim is to work with young people facing hostile living environments due to their sexuality or gender identity.

The Outside Project – A charity for young LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness. Its aim is to work with young people facing hostile living environments due to their sexuality or gender identity.

Micro Rainbow – A supported housing provider for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees whilst they’re going through the asylum process.

Help Emmaus continue to be a safe space for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Donate now.