The month of June marks Pride Month, an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community and allies to celebrate how far we have come and to recognize the challenges to equality still present today. The National Network for Youth (NN4Y) is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and is dedicated to the eradication of youth homelessness. NN4Y is raising awareness that LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately affected by homelessness and face additional adversity while homeless. It is estimated that up to 40 percent of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+ youth.  Homelessness has a harmful impact to the mental and physical health of young people.  Youth who experience homelessness are at an increased risk for sexual abuse and exploitation, chemical and alcohol dependency, social stigma and discrimination.

As we celebrate the accomplishments we must not forget that there is still a lot  of work ahead for us. Currently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has proposed a rule change which would allow for HUD-funded homeless shelters to discriminate against transgender young people on religious grounds or demand they use bathrooms and bedding areas conflicting with their personal gender identity. This rule will mean that LGBT people can be turned away from housing shelters just because of who they are. We are collaborating with our national partners to oppose this change.

Providers can create inclusive programming by creating agency policies that take into account the gender identity of individuals.  However, the challenges facing young people can’t be addressed by individual providers in solitary. To prevent and solve youth homelessness in America, especially among LGBT+ youth, communities must work together on multi-sector strategies to decrease both the incidence and consequences of youth homelessness. A comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of homelessness for young people is essential to achieve lasting and sustainable progress. This is how NN4Y approaches all aspects of its work and how our Local Cross-System Collaboratives approaches its work in communities.

The National Network for Youth encourages people to educate themselves about the struggles homeless LGBTQ+ youth face. Below are a few resources which highlight some of the different ways that LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately affected.

Statistics about Homeless LGBTQ+ Youth [1]

  •         LGBTQ+ youth are 2.2 times more likely to report homelessness.
  •         Black or multiracial LGBTQ+ youth report the highest rates of homelessness.
  •         LGBTQ+ homeless youth have twice the rate of early death.

Resources


[1] Morton, M. H., Samuels, G. M., Dworsky, A., & Patel, S. (2018). Missed opportunities: LGBTQ youth homelessness in America. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.