The Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) recognises that members of the LGBT+ community are disproportionately likely to have experienced an episode of homelessness in their lives, at a rate of 18% according to a 2018 Stonewall report. This increases to 28% for disabled LGBT+ people, compared to 11% for the non-disabled. One in five LGBT+ people still expect to be discriminated against in their application for social housing.
There are various triggers that can prompt an episode of homelessness such as experiencing domestic abuse, which our previous writings show LGBT+ people are more likely to have suffered. Extended or repeated episodes of homelessness can be lethal, and this can be exacerbated by a reluctance to access healthcare or support. Unfortunately, especially among older people, there simply isn’t the data on the number of LGBT+ people who are homeless at any one time and this prevents the development of effective strategies for providing specialised support.
We know that for vulnerable homeless people it can be difficult to access services and support. We also recognise that supporting rough sleepers can be a challenging area for frontline professionals, particularly for those with multiple health and care needs (such as isolation). This is outlined in our short animation on Homelessness, which links to our online masterclass recording. This is a free online resource which practitioners can engage with at their own pace, and which gives an overview of the legal framework for practitioners, practice challenges and the interaction with mental capacity/executive functioning.
The LGA have also published a briefing on positive practice for Adult Safeguarding and Homelessness. This give particular focus is given to working with people experiencing multiple exclusion homelessness, and effective practice is explored through a focus on working with individuals and the multi-agency team around the person.
Where to seek help
Concerns that an adult with care and support needs is experiencing abuse or neglect can be reported to Lambeth Adult Social Care via the online reporting form.
Professionals in Lambeth can also utilise the Complex Case Pathway to bring together professionals outside of the safeguarding process. This can be used to discuss challenging situations or where people face the risk of ‘falling through the gaps’.