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The UK’s first LGBTQ+ shelter needs a new home

The Outside Project has suffered a “massive blow” after a planned move into a new building fell through.

The UK’s first LGBTQ+ shelter has been forced to close it’s doors while it looks for a new permanent home.

The Outside Project, which acts as a community centre, shelter and domestic abuse refuge, says its planned move into a new building – which had been hit by delays – has now fallen through due to renovation costs.

It had moved from it’s temporary home of two years, Clerkenwell Fire Station in Islington, north London, into a Covid-19 hotel in April last year and had been based there since.

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Carla Ecola, founder of The Outside Project, said: “We are looking for buildings to operate in and hope to find something before next winter at least. If you have a building that could be used as an emergency night shelter please contact Press@lgbtiqoutside.org.

They added: “Our additional winter emergency hotel closes as planned this month after a second successful year. This will therefore be the first time we have not had emergency accommodation available since we reopened in 2018 following our pilot in 2017.

“This has been a massive blow to our crew who have given everything to stay open and to open the additional services our community desperately needed throughout the pandemic.”

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The Outside Project received £50,000 from mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund to help it to move into Clerkenwell Fire Station in 2019.

has supported over 60 LGBTQ+ people into crisis beds this winter, and many more through its centre and outreach in the community – an increase on the same period the previous year.

“There is no doubt that LGBTIQ+ by and for, high support crisis accommodation is vital in London and we’re working hard to find a suitable, stable, long term home for our services,” Ecola added.

“Thankyou to our team and everyone in the London LGBTIQ+ Community who has supported our work since we began campaigning in 2017.

“Thankyou to the GLA for your ongoing support throughout these very uncertain two years and onwards as we search for a permanent home for our LGBTIQ+ Shelter here in London. Thankyou to the hundreds of guests over the years that have contributed to the shelter’s unique identity and sense of community – it’s been such a
journey and we love our ever growing house.”

Those who are LGBTQ+ and facing abuse or homelessness should contact the helplines listed on The Outside Project website for advice and support, or visit its weekly housing advice drop-in – Cafe Queero – at their LGBTQ+ Centre on Lant Street in Borough, south London.

More information can be found here.

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