Support for young LGBTI+ people in homelessness
Experiencing homelessness as a young LGBTI+ person can be extremely challenging
People can find themselves in homelessness for many reasons. Although it can be different for everyone, and finding yourself in homelessness may have nothing to do with your sexuality or gender identity, family rejection is one of the biggest causes of LGBTI+ youth homelessness. Other factors, such as financial difficulties or poverty, can also contribute to homelessness for young LGBTI+ people.
This can be a very hurtful and distressing experience, and can make it more difficult to be open about your sexuality or gender identity. You deserve to feel safe and accepted. There are a number of services available to support young LGBTI+ homeless people in Ireland.
What does it mean to be homeless?
Some young people might not consider themselves homeless because they are not sleeping on the streets or staying in hostels or emergency accommodation. However, if you are couch surfing, or staying with friends and family because you have nowhere else to go, and you can’t go home, then you can be considered homeless.
Staying somewhere that is not your own home can be very stressful. It’s important to reach out for support and look after yourself during this time.
Being homeless when you are under 18
If you are under the age of 18, you are still considered a minor. This means that your parent or guardian is legally responsible for you. If it is not safe for you to be at home, then Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) are responsible for your welfare. This means that Tusla will need to intervene and make sure you are placed with a guardian or in care.
If you are under 18 and have been living on the streets or couch surfing with friends and family, then someone may get in touch with Tusla to let them know about your situation. If this happens, a social worker will be put in touch with you and you might be put into foster care or into a residential home. Learn more about being in care.
Homeless support for young LGBTI+ people
There are currently no LGBTI+ specific homeless services in Ireland. However, homeless services are there to support you regardless of your identity or sexual orientation, and work is being done to make services more LGBTI+ friendly.
Focus Ireland support services for young people
Focus Ireland offers support to people experiencing homelessness across Ireland. They have specific programmes for young people in homelessess, particularly those who are leaving care. Their work includes preventing young people from entering homelessness, supporting young people to get back to education or into training, and working with young people to address their needs.
Support services for young people are currently available in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford.
If you are outside of these areas, Focus Ireland is still there to support you. Find out how to get in touch with Focus Ireland in your area by selecting your county from this list.
You can also contact Focus Ireland’s Advice & Information Service to find out more about their services and other supports in your area.
Other services that can support young people in homelessness
There are a number of other services across the country who can help young people in or at risk of homelessness:
- Crosscare: Offering both homeless services and youth services
- The Peter McVerry Trust
- St. Vincent de Paul
- The Simon Communities
Support for your sexuality or gender identity
Being rejected because of your sexuality or gender identity is extremely difficult. You deserve to feel accepted and to be able to live openly.
BeLonGTo Youth Services is a national organisation supporting young LGBTI+ people in Ireland between the ages of 14-23. They can offer advice, information, and a safe space for young LGBTI+ people. They can offer:
- One to one support
- Youth groups across Ireland
- Counselling with Pieta
- Drug and alcohol service
- Sexual health courses
Having the space to talk about your experiences with others who understand what you’re going through can be very helpful. Find out more about BeLoNGTo youth services.
Transgender Equality Network of Ireland (TENI)
TENI are a national service offering advice and support to transgender people in Ireland. They have information on peer support groups around the country where you can talk to others with similar experiences to you and share how you’re feeling. Find out more about TENI.