New Zealand: Young queer and trans people face growing housing barriers

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08/25/2020

RainbowYOUTH homelessness support worker Therese Go says they have seen an increase in referrals from social workers, nurses and school counsellors who are concerned the young Aucklanders they are working with are being isolated with families that are not supportive of their sexuality and/or gender identity. RainbowYOUTH was among groups that raised concerns about the safety of queer and trans people when the country moved into level 4 lockdown this year. “Queer, gender diverse, takatāpui and intersex communities continue to be resilient during this tough time,” Go said. “However, we’ve been hearing from and working with a lot of young people who are navigating numerous challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.” Safe housing is just one of the challenges. Manāki Rangatahi, a collective of organisations – including RainbowYOUTH – who are trying to tackle youth homelessness, said the effect alert level 3 was having on young people experiencing homelessness was concerning, and few emergency housing providers were willing to take in 16- and 17-year-olds. RainbowYOUTH is seeing the impact of that – they’ve had an increase in under 18s reach out for support after being unable to access emergency accommodation and related services.

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