The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT)
The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) has projects based in London, Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. AKT provides support, advice and guidance to young people aged 16-25 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness.
Many young people who access AKT have often suffered homophobia, biphobia or transphobia and familial rejection because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. They can be fleeing domestic violence, hate crime or sexual and financial exploitation and have dropped out of education or are finding it hard to sustain employment. AKT helps these young people get their lives back on track through a range of support services.
It does this by working with a range of partners and volunteers to offer safe homes, mentoring, support and training. In 2013-14 it helped over 750 young LGBT people in these three cities and beyond, arranging 7,879 nights off the streets.
Its mission is to end LGBT youth homelessness through the provision of safe homes, support, advocacy, mentoring and training.
AKT recently commissioned national research on the issue of homelessness amongst young people who identify as LGBT. It concluded that they are at a significantly higher risk of becoming homeless than their non-LGBT peers. They are over-represented within the UK’s youth homelessness population and are at risk of targeted violence and sexual exploitation; substance abuse problems and risky sexual behaviour, causing physical and mental health problems. Significantly, the study demonstrated that they are less likely to seek help than non-LGBT homeless youth. It is important, therefore, that every effort is made to enable them to reach support that will prevent the damaging outcomes that homelessness causes.
In Manchester young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people needing support into independent living are offered a package of care, which includes:
Support to find their first tenancy
• Rainbow starter packs – which include help with deposits and first month’s rent, to first food shop and essential furniture
• Life skills training to ensure they can manage living independently
• Floating support: which will involve AKT providing on-going support to young people in their own homes during the critical first six months of living independently
The Manchester Pride Community Fund grant that AKT receives helps towards the Rainbow Starter Packs detailed above, which directly helps young people supported by AKT to move on to independent living.