By drawing on existing resources and the wealth of knowledge among our LGBTIQ+ community and homelessness and housing sector reference groups, we hope that the guide will help redress some of the outstanding gaps (further discussed in the Appendix), paving the way for more targeted and effective service responses and policies at state/territory and national levels. Ultimately, we hope this helps reduce the risks and barriers for LGBTIQ+ people who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability in Australia.
At the same time, we recognise a need for further research, and research partnerships with service providers, to build more nuanced knowledge of the many diverse and unique experiences and trajectories for LGBTIQ+ people through the Australian homelessness and housing systems. In implementing this guide and embedding the necessary cultural change within different agencies across states and territories in Australia, furthermore, we recognise that services are guided by other quality assurance standards and reporting requirements and, as such, can face a number of challenges. Some challenges include:
Existing pressure on services and significant lack of short-term crisis accommodation, transitional or social housing, and other long-term options, especially in non-metropolitan areas, such that demand outweighs supply;
The capacity of services - to introduce new roles and modify accommodation facilities, for instance - can vary greatly depending on size and location, and other factors;
LGBTIQ+ people seeking assistance may be denied care on grounds of religious exemptions or other state/territory legislation that makes some forms of discrimination legal;
Ensuring safety and inclusivity of LGBTIQ+ people in facilities where there is a high turnover of residents (such as short-term crisis accommodation) and the private sector (rental market, boarding houses);
Limitations of current national data collecting institutions such as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and national population data, including lack of appropriate fields for LGBTIQ+ people.
To successfully facilitate LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice in housing and homelessness sectors, increased funding and resources are required from State/Territory and Commonwealth governments to:
Support investment in training, education, resources, and service development, especially for smaller agencies and those in regional areas;
Support the establishment of paid LGBTIQ+ liaison officer roles within services (or at least within a service network);
Increase short, medium, and long-term housing, as well as specialised services for LGBTIQ+ people at risk of homelessness;
Ensure that the rights of LGBTIQ+ people accessing mainstream services are upheld, including through anti-discrimination legislative reform; and
More clearly identify and address the needs of LGBTIQ+ people at risk of homelessness in government strategies, policy frameworks, data collection systems, and responses, going forward.