MEDIA RELEASE | 20.04.2012
Housing representatives from across Merseyside have signed a Pledgeto engage better with the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. The signing of the Pledge was part of the prestigious Mayoral Candidates Housing and Equality Debate held in Liverpool earlier this week.
Representatives from 15 local housing associations were invited to sign the Pledge along with LGBT charities Stonewall Housing and the Michael Causer Foundation. The housing representatives include:
- Symphony Housing Group
- Liverpool Housing Trust
- Cobalt Housing
- Helena Housing
- Your Housing Group
- Plus Dane Group
- South Liverpool Homes
- The Regenda Group
- Pierhead Housing
- Venture Housing Association
- Knowsley Housing Trust
- Riverside Housing
- Cosmopolitan Housing Association
- Liverpool Mutual Homes
- Steve Biko Housing Association
They became the first in the country to pledge formally to address LGBT housing and social issues proactively.
The event at Royal Liver Building: Rights and Humanity’s The Light was hosted by the Michael Causer Foundation and the subsequent housing debate was presided over by Bob Green, Chief Executive of Stonewall Housing.
The Pledge initiative was organised around a Mayoral Hustings on the theme of Housing and Equality to which all of the candidates for elected Mayor were invited to attend and take part in a general housing debate. Six candidates took part and agreed to support the pledges including:
- Cllr Anne O’ Byrne, Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, representing Leader of the Council Joe Anderson (Labour)
- Jeff Berman (Liverpool Independent Party)
- Tony Caldeira (Conservative)
- John Coyne (Green)
- Liam Fogarty (Independent)
- Richard Kemp (Liberal Democrats)
The four pledges that were signed are:
- We are committed to collecting better information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in the North West and learn how best to gather and use this information.
- We are committed to developing a minimum standard for all of our services so that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can be assured of safe and welcoming services.
- We are committed to finding out what services exist in the North West that work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
- We are committed to engaging with LGBT organisations and working with housing associations and councils to provide a spectrum of services that will meet the range of needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Gerry Proctor, Chair of the Michael Causer Foundation said: “This is a landmark achievement, and not just for the LGBT community. This is leading the way in good practice for other marginalised groups. We are not asking for preferential treatment, but for a commitment which will improve housing options and safety for all vulnerable groups in our community, with an understanding of the particular needs of LGBT tenants.”
The Michael Causer Foundation aims to work with housing providers and politicians to ensure all LGBT people have access to housing, especially young people aged 16-25 who are who are at greater risk of hate crime and homelessness.
Marie and Mike Causer, from Whiston, Mersesyide founded the Michael Causer Foundation in 2010 after their son, Michael, died aged 18 in August 2008 following a vicious homophobic attack. The Foundation’s goal is to provide safe accommodation and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people who are homeless or at risk in the north-west of England.”
Stonewall Housing Chief Executive Bob Green presented questions to the candidates at the hustings.. He said: “Housing associations are facing very challenging times, and it is very exciting that those in Merseyside have pledged to work together to understand the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and then to ensure these needs are met. Stonewall Housing is proud to be working with the Michael Causer Foundation and other partners in the area to ensure their four pledges will become reality, and hopes that the newly elected mayor will also pledge to support them.”
Annmarie Flynn, Director of Resident Services for Venture Housing Association, who signed the Pledge, said: “Merseyside RSLs have come together under the Homes for Everyone banner to ensure a fair housing deal for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Signing the pledge is the next step in demonstrating our commitment to equality in all its forms.”
Homes for Everyone is a group of 14 housing associations from across Merseyside, originally formed to take part Liverpool Pride in August 2011. The group aims to give employees and customers the confidence to join the associations' LGBT focus groups and forums and the confidence that they will be treated fairly and with respect no matter who they are.
Chair of the Homes for Everyone group Clare Mawdsley-Geoghegan said: "We don't just offer homes for rent or sale but work to make neighbourhoods great places to live and work. Everyone should feel at home in their neighbourhood no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Stonewall Housing provides supported housing, advice and advocacy for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in London. It is not related to the national LGB equality charity Stonewall. For further information please visit: www.stonewallhousing.org