Youth homelessness is a problem that doesn’t fit neatly into a box. The exact number of youth experiencing homelessness is difficult to determine: they are undercounted in national data as unaccompanied youth are often unconnected to services or shelters. Though they do not have a safe stable place to call home, many wind up “couch surfing” with friends, relatives, or acquaintances. There does appear to be agreement that twenty to forty percent of youth experiencing homelessness self-identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ), which is disproportionate to the percentage of LGBTQ youth in the general youth population.
62% of homeless gay and transgendered youth attempt suicide.
Like many homeless youth, LGBTQ youth either runaway or are forced out of the home due to severe family conflict, abuse, neglect, mental health or physical disabilities. They are more at risk once they are homeless for sexual abuse and exploitation. There is a high incidence of depression, suicide initiations, and other mental health disorders among all youth experiencing homelessness, and chronic physical health conditions are common as are high rates of substance abuse disorders. There are solutions that work to help LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness rebuild a strong sense of self and build a path to stability.
USICH spoke with experts at the Center for American Progress and two model programs serving LGBTQ Youth for a newsletter focused on this issues. This newsletter also provides links to a variety of resources and websites for providers and advocates.
The resources below are targeted toward or are particularly relevant to LGBTQ Youth experiencing homelessness or in danger of becoming homeless.
Preventing and Ending LGBTQ Youth Homelessness: HUD Issues Historic Guidance and Launches First of Its Kind Effort with True Colors Fund
Life Can be Bitter; Everyone Could Use a Little Sugar… One Man’s Journey from Homelessness to Filmmaker
Joint Statement by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development on Collaborative Youth Point-in-Time Counts
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and the Departments of Education (ED), Health...
High Burden of Homelessness Among Sexual-Minority Adolescents: Findings From a Representative Massachusetts High School Sample
Heather Corliss, Carol Goodenow, Lauren Nichols, and S. Bryn Austin July 2011 In this study, researchers...
Remarks delivered by Laura Green Zeilinger, USICH Executive Director, at the End Youth Homelessness Call...