Empty Trafford property brought back to life for homeless LGBT young people
Published by Kate Meighan for New Charter Housing Trust Group in Housing and also in Care and Support, Central Government, Communities, Local Government
The newly created living room at the Trafford Purple Door project
An alliance of charities and Trafford Council, with funding from central government, have joined forces to tackle LGBT homelessness in a radical new way while bringing empty homes back into use.
The ‘Purple Door’ initiative was started by the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), a charity working with young LGBT people who can be at risk of homelessness and domestic abuse, particularly when ‘coming out’.
Greater Manchester housing charity Threshold worked in partnership with the B4 Box construction company, and New Charter Housing Trust Group who hold the lease, to bring an empty office building back into residential use for four young people.
The work included training for unemployed people by B4box, and resulted in a good level of living accommodation with appropriate fire precautions.
Four young people have now moved in and will be able to stay for up to a year whilst they are helped with employability and living skills to boost confidence and independence.
The building work was funded with help from Trafford Council and a capital grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government's Empty Homes Programme.
AKT Chief Executive Tim Sigsworth said: “Despite ten years of progressive legislation which has enabled young LGBT people to feel more confident to come out at an early age –we are still seeing several hundred young people each year coming to us facing issues such as homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, domestic violence, forced marriage and bullying…With the launch of Purple Door, we can now help more of these young people.”
Steve Goslyn, Chief Executive of Threshold said: “Not only can this initiative help to provide support for those who need it, but by bringing empty buildings back into use, it can increase the supply of specialist accommodation and have a positive impact on the surrounding communities.”
Cllr Michael Hyman, Trafford’s Executive Councillor for Economic Growth and Prosperity, said: “We are pleased to work with our partners AKT, Threshold and New Charter Housing Group on this exciting project, which will bring an empty property back into beneficial use. The project demonstrates the success of the Council’s partnership approach in attracting funding from the Government to meet local housing need and we’re sure it will provide young people with the support, skills and mentoring they need to live independently.”
Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston and shadow equalities spokesperson, said: “I am thrilled the Purple Door project has been launched in my constituency. I was delighted to visit the project, which offers young LGBT people the chance to leave independently and safely, in some cases after they have been thrown out of their family home. Albert Kennedy Trust, New Charter Housing Trust Group and Threshold have worked together to build a beautiful welcoming new home for LGBT young people who desperately need security and stability.”