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Tour bus used by Status Quo is a success as a LGBT+ homeless shelter

PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 January 2018

Status Quo's old tour bus made into a night shelter for LGBT people. Gonzo, Carla Ecola and centre manager Chris Downham

Status Quo's old tour bus made into a night shelter for LGBT people. Gonzo, Carla Ecola and centre manager Chris Downham

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A pop band’s old tour bus has had a successful start to life as a LGBT+ homeless shelter.

Status Quo's old tour bus made into a night shelter for LGBT people. Carla Ecola and Gonzo on the busStatus Quo's old tour bus made into a night shelter for LGBT people. Carla Ecola and Gonzo on the bus

The Outside Project’s shelter, which is inside an old Status Quo tour bus, welcomes LGBT+ guests from across London.

Being around other LGBT+ people in similar circumstances is a great help to the guests, said volunteer Carla Ecola.

Trans people who have been forced out of winter shelters, young people fleeing family, former sex workers and recovering drug addicts have all made use of the shelter’s services.

The friendships guests form with each other and the support network in place helps guests deal with their difficult circumstances, said Carla.

A group of guests went out on New Year’s Eve.

“They knew they had somewhere safe to come back to, which helps them start to get their lives back on track,” said Carla.

They try to make it a very social, relaxing environment, she adds, by watching films and playing games with the guests.

“Overall, we have had a good Christmas and New Year,” she said.

Whilst staying in the shelter some guests have successfully found jobs.

The shelter gets referrals from other homeless services who recommend people they think would benefit from the services of The Outside Project.

Not all referrals are suitable, however, and people with complex problems such as mental health issues are still catered for by mainstream services.

A quarter of young homeless people identify as LGBT+, according to research by the Albert Kennedy Trust.

LGBT+ people face an increased risk of domestic abuse, sexual violence and addiction, which increases the risk homelessness.

A number of guests have passed through the shelter since its opening, with one staying the duration of the time it has been open.

The shelter opens at 7.30pm daily and two volunteers stay with the guests each night.

The shelter’s volunteers run a hub every Monday from 10am to midday in the Ripple Centre, in Ripple Road, where you can pop in for tea and toast to discuss any issues, socialise and learn about services on offer.

To donate to the shelter visit bit.ly/2zmXTzY.

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