This £1.4m housing scheme for LGBT-only residents is set to create a safe haven in Salford
Work has started on an innovative housing scheme for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Salford , in response to homophobic incidents.
The £1.4m development in Broughton, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, will create 14 apartments for LGBT individuals who may be facing difficult circumstances.
The ‘safe haven’ is being created by ForViva, a social organisation which manages 24,000 homes across the north west and is expected to complete on the brownfield site in winter 2018.
Ten two-bedroom and four one-bed homes will be available for affordable rent and are being built with £420,000 funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.
The rest is being funded by ForViva, City West’s parent company.
Colette McKune, group deputy chief executive at ForViva, said: “We all have the right to be able to access a secure home and feel safe in their community.
“It has become clear that some LGBT people in Salford were facing incredibly tough choices on where to live, or even homelessness because their circumstances had left them with nowhere to turn for alternative housing.
“This scheme will go some way to addressing that challenge and will allow people to improve their situations and live independently.”
Salford City Partnership’s Equality Strategy claims that Salford had up to 8,100 LGBT residents in 2015.
It also said that 11 per cent of all hate crimes and hate incidents in the city were motivated by homophobia.
ForViva group member City West Housing Trust has worked closely with Salford City Council and the LGBT Foundation on the development, which will provide safe and secure homes for LGBT people, including those in danger of being made homeless.
Stonewall Housing, which provides housing support, advice and advocacy for the LGBT community, has seen approaches from LGBT people more than triple in the last five years, including some who were actually homeless.
Paul Martin, chief executive of the Manchester LGBT Foundation, said: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people can still face considerable discrimination within social housing services which can result in feelings of exclusion and isolation.
“I welcome today’s announcement about this ground-breaking scheme which recognises that LGBT people are an integral part of society and make a tremendous contribution to the identity of modern Salford.
“I very much look forward to working with City West and the ForViva Group on ensuring that the needs of their LGBT residents are better met.”
A recent study from the LGBT Foundation and Manchester City Council found access to affordable, accessible housing where they can be open about their identity is a key issue for LGBT people.
Councillor Tracy Kelly, Lead Member for Housing and Neighbourhoods at Salford City Council, added: “Everyone needs a good quality, safe home. LGBT people have often experienced intolerance and harassment and felt that they could not be their true selves.
“I’m delighted they will now have the security and comfort they want and wish them many long and happy years in their new homes.”
Launched in June 2015, ForViva has seen City West Housing Trust, Villages Housing Association and construction company ForWorks come together under a new group structure.