LGBTI youth apartment in Lisbon opens end of December

in News · 26-12-2019 16:00:00 · 0 Comments

The ReAJo - LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex) Youth Empowerment project, with an apartment in Lisbon, will welcome, from the end of December, “two people, potentially three”

In partnership with the Lisbon City Council, Casa Qui - Social Solidarity Association intends for the ReAJo project to support the empowerment of young people, aged 16 to 23, victims of violence and discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity / expression, namely “for homeless support, lack of family support or family violence, with a view to a professional insertion project”.

Speaking to Lusa agency, Casa Qui's executive director, Rita Paulos, indicated that the association has received, in the last three years, 204 requests for help from LGBTI youth, of which “30 correspond to this type of need” for temporary care, whereas this "is a relatively significant number".

With capacity to accommodate four people simultaneously, the country's first LGBTI youth empowerment apartment, available in Lisbon, has two rooms for up to six months and two rooms for up to two years.

“It will fall short of what is likely to be necessary, but it is already extremely positive at this moment to have this capacity,” said Rita Paulos, explaining that as the length of stay is limited the apartment can meet more than four young people by year.

Noting that the screening phase is still underway, the head of the Casa Qui association said that the apartment is expected to host two people, one 18 and one 21, noting that they may be “potentially three” young LGBTIs supported since the opening of this empowerment response.

About the requests for help that the association has received, Rita Paulos informed that there are requests “from all parts of the country, including the islands”, with ages ranging from 16 to 23 years old, with cases “under 16 years old”, “but less common,” and up to 25, when they are still in vocational training.

In addition, there is a migration process of “many young people” coming from other parts of the country to Lisbon, “because they think the environment will be more welcoming, more positive,” said Casa Qui's executive director, ensuring that the association tries to respond to this situation “so that these people do not end up on the street or in more vulnerable situations”.

Alongside the housing response, the ReAJo project aims to “support employability” to make young people self-reliant, supported by a multidisciplinary and specialized technical team from the LGBTI youth victim support office.

Rita Paulos highlighted psychosocial support for the “many cases of early home leaving” as it is “young people who are suddenly being thrown into adulthood and need some support, in addition to all the inconvenience and the disruption that may be occurring, because even if there is no physical violence there is emotional violence.”

"This is essentially family violence," said the head of the Casa Qui association, pointing to cases where young people are 18 and expelled from their homes and "simply pushed into a situation of social vulnerability."

Homeless and jobless, LGBTI youth are more likely to be using “sexual favours in exchange for food and accommodation”.

Another concern of the ReAJo project is the “fear” of victims of violence asking for help, because there are situations of discrimination “by peers or people who are also present in such social responses”.

“The experiences are not all bad, there is not a Manichean view on social responses in Portugal, this is not the point, what is the point is that in some cases, in some situations, things have not gone smoothly and it was necessary to find a specific answer”, said Rita Paulos.

The LGBTI youth empowerment apartment, located in Lisbon, will keep the property's location anonymous, ensuring a “100 percent secure” response


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