Report Released on LGBT Youth Homelessness
Windy City Times
By Kate Sosin
July 18, 2012
According to a new report, an overwhelming number of homeless service providers are serving LGBT youth.
The report, released by The Palette Fund, True Colors Fund and the Williams Institute, shows that 94 percent of homeless service providers work with queer youth, a 12 percent jump from a decade ago.
The study surveyed 354 agencies throughout the country and found that approximately 40 percent of homeless clients identified as LGBT.
According to the agencies, 68 percent of LGBT youth had been rejected by their families, with 43 percent stating they were forced out by their parents for being LGBT. An additional 46 percent stated they had run away from home due to family rejection, while 32 percent said they were homeless as a result of abuse at home. In total, 54 percent of youth said they had been abused at home.
Agencies reported lack of funding as a major barrier to improving LGBT services as well as the fact that LGBT youth issues were not central to their missions.
The report confirms what many LGBT service providers have reported over the years.
“The findings from this survey demonstrate that many LGBT youth are at high risk of homelessness, often as a result of family rejection and abuse,” said Laura Durso, a co-author of the report from the Williams Institute, in a statement.
The report also noted that while less than half of agencies served transgender youth a decade ago, more than 75 percent say they now serve trans youth. Trans youth made up at least one percent of clients, according to the reporting agencies. But researchers believe that all the totals for LGBT youth may be falsely low because some are hesitant to self-identify.
The report, “Serving Our Youth; Finding from a National Survey of Service Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender Youth who are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless,” is available [here].