8 Feb 2015

Govt grants for LGBTI youth support

4:48 pm on 8 February 2015

The Government has announced it is putting up $85,000 in grants for queer youth support services.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex, or LGBTI, causes were given $60,000 last year.

Minister for Youth, Nikki Kaye said queer youth were faring better than they once were, but there was still a way to go.

"Young LGBTI people are more likely to commit suicide, in fact five times more likely, they're more likely to cause harm to themselves.

"That's why it's really important that we have good support for those organisations that are frontline, the enable them to have counselling but also enable them to have a safe environment."

She said applications for the grants would open later this month.

Funding welcomed but not enough, say groups

Queer youth groups say it is good to see the Government stumping up some cash to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, but it is still not enough.

A volunteer at the Wellington-based group School's Out, Kassie Hartendorp, said the grants would fund important work.

But she said there needed to be more consistent funding for queer support services, because LGBTI youth were at a much higher risk of suicide than their straight counterparts.

The Auckland-based group Rainbow Youth said the new funding was welcome, but barely scratched the surface of its annual operating costs.

Nikki Kaye said work was under way to secure long-term funding for queer support services.

She said a group of officials was working on a long-term plan for funding the services, but smaller grants were worthwhile in the short term.