Lack Of Gender Neutral Facilities for Transgender Homeless, Oireachtas Committee Told

Department officials have called for research into the root cause of homelessness in the LGBT+ community.

homeless man begging on the street holding a cup

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, along with her department officials have highlighted the impact of the lack of public gender-neutral services on the homeless population to the Oireachtas committee.

Coming before the committee to discuss LGBT+ issues, officials from the Department of Children told of how existing facilities do not cater to the transgender community, which is negatively affecting those of whom are experiencing homelessness.

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Department official Linda O’Sullivan has claimed that “there is a dearth of gender-neutral facilities in homeless services”, and called for research to be undertaken in order to address “the root causes of some of the high incidences of homelessness in the LGBT+ community”.

Many young members of the LGBT+ experience or have been threatened by homelessness on account of at-home disputes concerning their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

However, quantitive research on homelessness in Ireland has not provided comprehensive statistics on LGBT+ people. Focus Ireland’s contribution to the LGBTI Youth Strategy cited “a lack of understanding of the issues of LGBT+ homeless youth”.

Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) has also identified a lack of services for homeless transgender people, leaving people without safety or support:

“Homelessness services need to be accessible for everyone, which for trans people can mean inclusion in either gender-segregated or gender-neutral services, depending on their own circumstances.”

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Both Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield and department official Olive McGovern have echoed these findings, calling for a need for research and gathering of data on the issue, citing US and British studies which had found that LGBT+ people made up a significant portion of the homeless population.

Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe without homeless accommodation specifically catering to the LGBT+ community. The housing crisis disproportionally affects the marginalised in society and this is evident in the systemic and statistical disregard for the transgender and non-binary homeless population.

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