Shelter rules pushing transfolk onto streets

TRANSGENDER people are slipping through the cracks of support services and ending up homeless at a disproportionate rate.

Dani Wright Toussaint, who has recently been appointed to a new Trans Homelessness Pathways project, says mainstream support services can be discriminatory because of their strict focus on “men’s” or “women’s” shelter, while they’re often completely overlooking transfolk in their data collection.

“But what we do know is that trans and gender diverse young people face disproportionately high rates of homelessness,” Mx Toussaint told the Voice.

“A women’s refuge often won’t allow trans women to come into their services.

“The Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation means that any religious-based service has the right to discriminate against people who are LGBTI but also it’s just an inherently gendered nature of welfare and accommodation services which are often in men’s wings or women’s wings.”

To combat the problem, Vincent council has recently given the project $7500 to help set up a new monthly drop-in service at Perth Inner City Youth Service’s office in Blencowe Street, Leederville.

Base Camp Agenda, as the drop-in service will be called, is a peer-based approach where volunteers who identify as trans and non binary and may have also experienced homelessness will provide mentoring and support to clients, as well as a free feed.

The Pathways project is run by PICYS, TransFolkWA and ConnectGroups is also developing a toolkit that will allow other support services to improve their data collection to ensure trans people are recognised.

Mx Wright Toussaint says research and data collection is crucial to creating a system-wide cultural change.

Vincent also gave funds to the Salvation Army Lincoln Street Outreach Centre and the Ladder Project Foundation under its grants program.

“Last year we wanted to do something to address the rising issue of homelessness in the City of Vincent and initiated a new grants program focused on building partnerships with organisations who can address this issue,” says mayor Emma Cole.


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