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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Partnerships to aid LGBTIQ+ homelessness

A new partnership between Havelock Housing Association and Meridian will address a gap in homelessness services for the sex and gender diverse community in Canberra.

Havelock will designate certain properties across their locations, managed in collaboration with Meridian, specifically for sex and gender diverse people looking for housing.

Meridian CEO Phillipa Moss said the partnership will help to decrease stigma faced by the sex and gender diverse community by delivering a person-centred approach.

“A lot of the homelessness services are allocated to men or women and there is so much stigma and discrimination for people who identify as male or female if they have a trans experience.

“Homelessness is a critical issue for trans, gender diverse and non-binary people especially, with one in five having experienced homelessness at some time in their lives because of stigma, discrimination and family rejection.” 

Pride Foundation Australia research conducted this year found members of the LGBTIQ+ community feared being re-victimised when accessing services.

Havelock Housing Association CEO Andrew Rowe said the partnership between the two organisations went hand in hand.

“I think that we are complementary. We are about providing homes and providing tenancies but many of the people who require social housing have other service needs in order to help them participate fully and start to lead contributing and fulfilling lives,” he said. 

“That’s not our expertise, we do a light version of that but best to partner with organisations like Meridian.”

As part of the collaboration, staff at the Havelock Housing Association undertook training and upskilling for working with members of the LGBTIQ+ community.

“We work with the tenants in supporting them to start their tenancy and move in and all that kind of work as a normal landlord so we need to make sure we deliver that service in a respectful way,” Mr Rowe said.

The accommodation will be used as temporary housing for those in need, with Ms Moss saying it should be able to service between three and five of their clients per three months.

She said it would be of huge benefit to those it would service.

“There are always people in our service network that are at risk of or are homeless due to family rejection, societal factors or mental health,” she said.

“Havelock is a welcoming and accessible service and we are working with Meridian to ensure there is appropriate, designated and designed places for LGBTIQ+ communities and that our services are inclusive of LGBTIQ+ people, culturally safe and acceptable,” Mr Rowe said.

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