Major new study reveals the social housing experience for LGBTQ+ people.
A groundbreaking new study found that more than a third of LGBTQ+ tenants do not feel safe in social housing surrounds. 60 per cent of trans tenants said they don’t feel safe.
Researchers also found that many LGBTQ+ tenants were concerned with inviting strangers, such as electricians and repairs people, into their home. 21 per cent said they were uncomfortable with repairs people whilst 25 per cent said they were uneasy about their landlord entering their property.
20 per cent of gay men said they would ‘always’ or ‘mostly’ change their home to conceal their sexuality, such as hiding DVDs or photos.
To collect the data, which was commissioned by HouseProud, the national network for LGBTQ+ professionals in the housing sector, researchers conducted a series of interviews and surveys with more than 260 LGBTQ+ tenants who are currently living in social housing.
The study also found that over a quarter of LGBTQ+ tenants feel lonely where they live and that 50 per cent feel like they do not have a sense of belonging within their local community.
Speaking of the results, Dr Andrew King, co-director of the Centre for Research on Ageing and Gender and lead researcher on the project at the University of Surrey, said:
Despite changes in equality laws, it is disappointing and worrying that in 2018 a significant number of social housing tenants still feel unsafe and experience harassment in their own neighbourhoods.
34 per cent of LGBTQ+ tenants said they felt that housing providers needed to do more in effectively dealing with harassment complaints.
Dr King explained:
Housing providers also need to be more openly LGBTQ+ supportive, train their staff on a regular basis and as some people we interviewed put it, ‘go above and beyond’ the basic requirements of equality legislation.
“LGBT*Q social housing tenants need to know they are valued tenants who are treated fairly and with respect. These small steps should help engage LGBTQ+ social housing residents and ensure they are a part of the community where they live.
HouseProud added that they hoped the study “will support housing providers to identify the practical steps that could help to address the issues highlighted.”
The study was undertaken by the University of Surrey and Goldsmiths, and funded by six of the UK’s largest housing associations – Clarion Housing Group, Genesis Housing Association, Hanover Housing Association, L&Q, Optivo, and The Riverside Group.