The gap between those who have, and those who have not is on the verge of becoming a chasm in a post COVID-19 world. With a job market flooded and the UK economy predicted to be the hardest hit in the developed world, it’s vital that we safeguard our most vulnerable. Not only are they the most likely to struggle financially, but those living in the poorest 10% of England are also twice as likely to die from coronavirus than those living in the wealthiest 10% of the country. As the end of furlough draws nearer redundancies are increasing, and a severely reduced market is swamped with a population of educated and experienced workers.
Housing and accommodation are the great equaliser. The right to adequate housing is a human right encoded in international law. A safe place to be makes all the difference for our most vulnerable looking to find their way. akt recognised this 21 years ago and has been safeguarding London’s LGBTQ+ youth by assisting with them housing and shelter ever since. Since the coronavirus lockdown, akt has seen a significant increase in young people seeking their services. The lockdown can exacerbate pre-existing problems in households, especially for the young LGBTQ+ community. 77% of people who sought akt’s services believe that coming out to their parents was the main factor in causing their homelessness and 40% of people using akt were homeless or needed assistance with finding safe housing.
akt has a range of services to help young people stay safe, find emergency accommodation, receive specialist support and the structure to imagine a future and work towards it. They have Purple Door, an LGBTQ+ emergency safe house, as well as an accommodation service working with hostels and homes with trained hosts. They also have a strong mentor program that offers one-to-one ongoing support as well as series of events, life skill trainings and peer support networks.
“Every day we have young people coming to us who have faced abuse simply for being who they are. Sometimes they’ve been told to leave their home without even a chance to pack a bag, while others will be escaping an abusive or hostile environment. With the COVID-19 lockdown ongoing, it’s even more important that young people at risk of homelessness know we’re here. We know that with confusing rules around social distancing they’re far less likely to be sofa-surfing – their friends may desperately want to help but aren’t able to. We’re there to help them into safe accommodation and to listen to them – because we know it can be truly terrifying not knowing where to go or who to turn to. That’s why we’re so grateful for our supporters, and really want to thank everyone at LOWE Guardians!”
– Claire Linacre, Donor Engagement Manager at akt.
This summer akt has launched their Room for Love campaign in a push to support LGBTQ+ youth across the UK. They have a whole host of ways to get involved and help them raise the vital funds they need to support those who need it. You can host a Zoom pub quiz, a virtual drag show, a bake off with your family or housemates (looking at you care home guardians – 40+ person bake off would be unreal) or set sponsored home challenges. If you’re in the mood for a quiet cuppa you can also donate the money you’re not spending on public transport and donate it to this worthy cause.
We are making a £500 donation as part of our Buy One Give One scheme. This donation was generated by the acquisition of Oval Theatre and the White House.
OUR GUARDIAN – NATH
We found out about akt through Nath who lived at our Greenwich Police Station for 18 months. Nath is a senior caseworker at akt and has been working there for four years now.
If you have a cause close to your heart, please get in touch and let us know!