UK’s Stonewall Housing, the Provider of Safe Shelter, Becomes a Waking Dream for the Queer Community
Picture this scenario. A gay man in his 20s felt confused and in denial about his gender identity. Yet, at the same time, he had a hard time dealing with the loss of his mother. He felt alone and was desperately looking for a safe place to escape the hurtful judgment of people around him. As he took courage and reached out to the Stonewall Housing website and sought help, he felt like a miracle had happened that Stonewall Housing had responded. After feeling that he belonged to a community that truly understood him as a gay man, he felt a miracle enter his world. The ability of Stonewall Housing brand, who attentively listened, understood, and provided a warm shelter away from the fear of being someone he was not, gave him a sense of empowerment to heal from what held his identity back. This is just one of the many inspiring stories by a former service user that inspires Stonewall Housing to provide a warm shelter to the LGBTQ community who feel insecure about their truths in their homes. TrooRa Magazine speaks to Claire Linacre-Hilton, Director of Development, as she shares her views about her experience running Stonewall Housing with her amazing team.
Shifting the Queer Struggles
When basic needs like a safe place at home are compromised, that unsettling feeling of nowhere to go can lead to disturbing mental health issues. Hence, since 1983, Stonewall Housing has become a waking dream for the homeless and helpless LGBTQ individuals and shines the light on the importance of a safer place for the queer community. To date, Stonewall Housing, the charity community-based in London, has assisted over 40,000 marginalized and vulnerable LGBTQ+ people in reclaiming inclusion & diversity for the livelihood of the larger community in the UK.
“So many people don’t realize that LGBTQ+ people are disproportionately affected by homelessness, yet nearly one in five LGBTQ+ people experience homelessness at some point in their lives.” There is a need to dig deeper to understand issues facing LGBTQ+ communities, like why some parents might reject a gay child or how domestic violence can present differently in same-sex couples compared to heterosexual couples.
Capitalizing on the strengths and superpowers of compassion and understanding, Stonewall Housing builds connections with their service users regarding their mental health challenges so they can help address their housing and homelessness concerns. The leaders of this charity organization can see this through the queer lens perspective. This is because most of them have experienced homelessness in the quest to escape from the discrimination by society as LGBT themselves.
The Call for a Caring Community
Realizing the voice of homelessness and the LQBTQ community that were massively underrepresented in the 1980s, a group of conscious souls joined forces through a shared mission to build a safe space for its community, and the legacy continues. It was a call to create a community to be more and do more to transform the lives of those experiencing domestic abuse and mental health issues for LGBTQ+ people of all ages living in the UK.
As we communicated with Claire, Director of Development of Stonewall Housing, we learned that the name “Stonewall” was inspired by the protests of 1969, and the “Housing” part is because everything they do is aimed at supporting LGBTQ+ people with their housing.
Today after more than 40 years, Stonewall Housing provides charity services and has become the UK’s first and only LGBTQ+ specialist housing provider. Understanding the discrimination and the world of societal judgments, Stonewall Housing shows up every day to stand up for equality and lead a meaningful change with inclusion and diversity for the underrepresented LGBTQ community in the UK.
The Charity Services that Transform Others
The queer charity community, which is based in London, works together, creating conversations and turning them into action as a team to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people live in safer homes, free from fear, and where all can celebrate their identity as they are. Stonewall Housing realized that most charity users face domestic abuse, disputes with landlords, the threat of being homeless, housing benefits, or the breakdown of a relationship with family members due to gender identity.
Stonewall Housing has been around for four decades and is still the only charity in the UK that provides safe housing that works with homeless LGBTQ+ people of all ages and provides accommodation, housing advice, mental health advocacy, and support for people fleeing or who have fled domestic abuse. It supports thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people across the UK every year from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. All of their services are free and confidential.
Support Stonewall Housing
In 2022 alone, Stonewall Housing has helped more than 2,000 service users, in which their caseworkers understand the queer lens of being accepted and respected for who they are as a pride community.
Claire said, “We’re celebrating our 40th birthday this year, and we’re on a mission to reach more people who need us—research suggests that there are roughly 120,000 people in the UK in need of our specialist support.”
With the support of London’s Police and Crime Plan 2022-2025’, Stonewall Housing’s newest service, Domestic Abuse Resettlement Service (DARS), is made possible. She mentioned that leaving an abusive partner can put a survivor at risk, referring to violence, stalking, psychological torment, or even homicide. From her experiences, people who have managed to flee abuse and are now living in safe accommodations often need support with things like independent living skills or applying for injunctions. This is why this service is so necessary.
“Domestic abuse referrals at Stonewall Housing have rocketed these past few years—which is why this new service will be a crucial element of our service delivery,” said Claire.
Stonewall Housing is able to offer housing assessments with a dedicated Advice and Advocacy worker, as well as face-to-face resettlement support by specialized resettlement workers. This new service supports survivors aged 16+ who live anywhere in London.
Together with Stonewall Housing, TrooRa Magazine welcomes all of us to join in empathy and shine our support in humanity for the homeless and LGBTQ community. We welcome donations, fundraising, corporate giving, payroll giving, legacy giving, and volunteering. Stonewall Housing also welcomes the members of the public with a platform to support our voices as their ambassadors. As a conscious community contributor, let’s help the LGBTQ community give a voice with a queer lens so they can see the world with unconditional love.
TROORA MAGAZINE | JUNE 2023
WRITTEN BY NIZIE N. LOKMAN, FCIM
PHOTOS COURTESY OF UNSPLASH | STONEWALL HOUSING