Sunday, 07 February 2016

Young homeless gay men using sex to gain shelter

Fear of homophobia in hostels leads to search for ‘boyfriends'

Young homeless gay men are selling themselves for sex on the internet to get a bed for the night because of homophobia in hostel accommodation.
The trend has been identified by several homelessness organisations, including the Albert Kennedy Trust, St Mungo's and Stonewall Housing.
Albert Kennedy  Trust chief executive Tim Sigsworth, told the Homeless Link conference last week that young homosexual men were going to bars and cafes and surfing gay websites to find people who would give them a room in return for sex.
‘A lot of young people coming to us are using internet cafes and gay bars too often when they are homeless,' he said. ‘Sometimes it will be a one-night stand but end up as 10 nights because it's a bed.'
Mr Sigsworth said young people doing this could end up physically or sexually abused, and ran a greater risk of picking up sexually transmitted diseases.
‘What seems like an easy option can lead to all sorts of things – once you're round someone's place, they set the ground rules.'
Nick Wallbridge, supported housing officer at Stonewall Housing, said communal gay areas were still being used: ‘We have young people coming to us who are homeless who have been thrown out, or left the family home because of their sexuality and they resort to all sorts of things.
‘All too often they resort to going to bars, saunas, or finding people on the internet, to find somewhere to sleep. Sadly, too often.'
Young gay people had often experienced homophobia in hostels from workers and residents, Mr Wallbridge said.
Gayle Jones, chair of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group at St Mungo's, said gay men left homeless because of family breakdowns could suffer low self-esteem.
‘There's a lot of drug and alcohol use in the gay scene. A lot revolves around bars and clubs. If you are young, you have lost your friends and family and feel low about yourself, you will not be bothered about going off with someone who makes you feel better, gives you a bed for the night and shower in the morning.'
Ms Jones said young gay people often imagined there was more homophobia in hostels that there was. They needed as much education and advice as possible to know what options were available to them, she added.

Newsletter Sign-up



  • GLA shared ownership fund slow to gain interest

    16 December 2015

    The Greater London Authority’s pioneering push to get institutional investors into shared ownership initially struggled to attract interest before launching last month.

  • Shelter warns of £2.5bn RTB deficit

    17 September 2015

    Sales of empty high-value council homes will not raise enough money to fund the Right to Buy extension and other housing policies, leaving the Treasury with a £2.5bn deficit, Shelter has claimed.

  • Young, trans and homeless

    6 May 2015

    Young trans people are at great risk of homelessness, yet councils and housing associations are not set up to meet their needs. Jane Fae reports

  • Landlords call on ministers to review sex offender strategy

    24 April 2015

    A group of 15 housing associations is calling on Scottish ministers to carry out a ‘fundamental’ review of the government’s strategy for housing sex offenders.

  • Scotland could gain powers to create benefits

    13 March 2015

    The Scottish government could gain devolved powers to create new benefits for tenants hit by welfare reform faster, it has said.

IH Subscription