Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project are delighted to announce funding from the Mayors Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund to create a community centre and night shelter for vulnerable homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people.

Working together, Stonewall Housing and The Outside Project will launch an LGBTIQ+ community centre with a focus on holistic wrap around support for those most at risk of rough sleeping. Overnight shelter accommodation will be provided within the centre for those in crisis. Individuals using the centre will be able to access Stonewall Housing’s wider services including a work-ready scheme, social groups and mental health advocacy with the aim of providing support and fostering resilience in order to better equip people in the wider world.

James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Residential Development, said:

“Rough sleeping is a complex issue and it’s vital that services are available for everyone at risk. The Mayor is pleased to be helping to fund this new LGBTIQ+ community centre, which is designed to provide a place of safety and sanctuary for those who may otherwise avoid seeking help. It will help LGBTIQ+ Londoners who are at risk of rough sleeping access services they need and get support from others in the community to avoid a life on the streets.”

Bob Green OBE, CEO of Stonewall Housing said:

“We are delighted to be working with The Outside Project, thanks to funding through the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Initiative, to improve services for LGBT+ people.

LGBT+ people are more at risk of sleeping on the street and often avoid mainstream services so we are looking forward to working with the Greater London Authority and other projects that they are funding through this initiative in order to support more LGBT+ people to find safe housing and to access a range of services and social networks through the community space where they can celebrate their identity and achieve their full potential.”

Building on the successful pilot which ran last winter, when an LGBTIQ+ night shelter ran on a repurposed tour bus, now, with the support of the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, this shelter will be housed in a building, with a community centre at its heart, in order to reach those LGBTIQ+ people most at risk of rough sleeping. This will be a mix of cultural and artistic hub, offering a safe daytime refuge & cafe space alongside queer led services, pop-up businesses & co-working space for marginalised groups amongst the LGBTIQ+ community. Holistic case work, advice, housing and employment support, will be provided by Stonewall Housing’s floating support.

Tam Vilbert, community centre director said:

“At the centre of our community are the most vulnerable members, we owe all of our current LGBTIQ+ rights to the homeless, transgender and marginalised queers who stood up for us 49 years ago in the Stonewall riots.”

Carla Ecola, founder of The Outside Project said:

“We welcome the support of the Mayor’s office following a year-long campaign driven by London’s LGBTIQ+ activist, artist & homeless community. We look forward to building on our work with Stonewall Housing, in solidarity with our community & the inspiring LGBTIQ+ centres & services that exist in London.”