Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich has called for a state of emergency over rising rates of homelessness, an issue which disproportionately affects LGBTI people.
LGB people are two to three times more likely to be homeless, and the number of people with no fixed address in New South Wales has risen by 37 per cent since 2011.
Greenwich has launched a petition calling for homelessness to be treated “as a state emergency” and to “establish an urgent plan to end homelessness in collaboration with all levels of government and homelessness services.”
“Nearly 40,000 people are homeless in New South Wales and the rate of homelessness is increasing at epidemic levels,” the petition reads.
Homelessness in New South Wales is increasing at twice the rate of the rest of the country, with around third of the country’s homeless population found in the state.
A report published by the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia last year said there are “barriers to homelessness services access including myths and assumptions that services were not specifically for LGBTQ people.”
“Fears of, and actual negative experiences within services” lead queer homeless youth to avoid shelters and remain on the streets.
“They put you in a motel,” one participant said to the report’s researchers of an inappropriate placement. “You end up raped, bashed, things stolen from you.”
“The trauma, and associated depression and anxiety, make getting into houses and keeping houses so much more difficult,” another said.
Trans people have reported experiencing housing and rental discrimination because of their gender presentation.
Earlier this year, Greenwich participated in the upcoming second season of Filthy Rich and Homeless on SBS alongside Benjamin Law, which begins airing on August 14.
It is currently Homelessness Week 2018, with events taking place around the country to support and highlight the needs of Australia’s homeless population.
Organisations like Twenty10 provide accomodation for LGBTI homeless youth to get their lives back on track, while The Gender Centre provides crisis accomodation for trans and gender diverse people.
If you live in Victoria and are looking for homelessness resources, LGBTI Housing & Homelessness Projects has a list of resources which may be of assistance, as well as broader assistance hotlines if you or someone you know is sleeping rough or experiencing homelessness.