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LATEST NEWS

October 2020

Friends of Dorothy

We are delighted to announced our new ‘Friends of Dorothy’ project, the first Housing and Support project for LGBTQ+ adults in Kent and Medway, will be up & running soon.

 

WHAT IS THE PROJECT?

We understand the necessity to ensure a space safe from homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination and Friends of Dorothy will operate on the “Housing-First” model of intervention – the insertion of homeless people in individual independent residencies without preconditions and barriers to entry.

The project will be open to LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Pansexual, Asexual, Non-Binary, Non-Conforming and Questioning) individuals aged 18+ in Kent and Medway, experiencing housing instability.

Qualifying individuals will be accommodated in a designated building named “Emerald House“, a LGBTQ+ only residence with perimetral CCTV camera protection, access by a reception, and 24/7 staff attendance.

The supportive services of AMAT will be offered to Residents of Emerald House, such as volunteering, HHM (Homeless Healthcare Medway), and further designated services that provide transitioning support to maximise housing stability and prevent a return to homelessness.

WHY IS THIS PROJECT NEEDED?

It has been estimated that 20% of the Homeless are LGBTQ+. However it is impossible to calculate a more accurate number because of how many LGBTQ+ people offer sex in exchange for a place to spend the night.

In 2018, the charity Depaul UK launched a landmark study that surveyed 700 homeless people about the danger they might face when offering sex in return for somewhere to stay. The study highlighted that:

  • 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ Homeless had resorted to sex for rent, an even higher proportion than homeless straight women overall
  • Half of the LGBTQ+ respondents had fled stable accommodation because of mental or physical abuse – twice the rate for homeless people overall, and
  • Over a third had either experienced violence or been pressured into drug-use or both.

Paul Doyle (pioneering in Support Housing Service for Gay and Bisexual Men with “Chemsex” drug issues and/or domestic violence) said:

“About 7 out of 10 service users have done sexual favors for rent,” and he warned that many of these people are falling into modern-day slavery.

Most of the LGBTQ+ people who resort to sex for rent do not approach a man in bars or the street. Instead, hookup apps perform a similar action for night-by-night arrangements, while Chemsex parties provide shelter for sometimes days on end. Or, for long-term arrangements, LGBTQ+ people reply to adverts and posts on social media. These setups can last months, even years, and usually include domestic chores as well as sex.

This project will play a crucial role in:

  • helping actively homeless LGBTQ+ people
  • ensuring LGBTQ+ class a faster housing process
  • increasing LGBTQ+ visibility within the community
  • promoting equality and diversity, supporting minorities and vulnerable people,
  • potentially reducing hate crimes by empowering people with knowledge and giving them a safe place where to stay
  • enriching Medway and Kent society and culture.

WHO CAN ACCESS THIS SUPPORT?

The clients of the project must be LGBTQ+ homeless individuals aged 18+ living, or having a connection in, Medway and Kent.

To become a “Friend of Dorothy” the potential client needs to follow the current AMAT UK referral procedure or be referred by a Friends of Dorothy/AMAT partner organisation/service.

 ADDITIONAL ACTIONS

AMAT will be spreading awareness of the Friends of Dorothy project across all our platforms, and working with county-wide venues to install information points directing people to help and informative material.

Plus, the creation of “Ruby Slippers”; emergency shelter profiles on a hookup app to connect vulnerable individuals to safety via help, advice, and referral in collaboration with Somewhere Safe To Stay (SSTS) team. The service will be active 24/7 on popular Hookup Apps and Social Networks

 

We look forward to officially launching Friends of Dorothy in the coming weeks; please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for further updates.

Thank you to Kent Online for this article on the project.

friends of dorothy illustration

How you can help AMAT

There are lots of ways in which you can help support AMAT to ensure that we can continue to provide our support to the homeless and vulnerable people in Medway.