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America’s shame: 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT kids

Friday, July 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES – About 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT, and nearly all homeless youth service providers in the U.S. now serve LGBT youth, according to a comprehensive report on LGBT youth homelessness released Thursday.

Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) respondents indicated that family rejection was a major factor contributing to LGBT youth homelessness, making it the most cited factor. More than half (54 percent) of respondents indicated that abuse in their family was another important factor contributing to LGBT homelessness.

Statistically, LGBT youth make up no more than 10% of that population segment, yet total 40 percent of homeless youth.

“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. The analyses offer critical insights into the challenges that these young people face when they seek help during a very difficult time in their lives,” said Laura E. Durso, Williams Institute Public Policy Fellow and study co-author.

The data comes from the LGBT Homeless Youth Provider Survey, a web-based survey conducted from October 2011 through March 2012 as a collaboration by The Palette Fund, True Colors Fund and the Williams Institute.

Among the key findings:

  • 94 percent of respondents from agencies work with LGBT youth
  • 30 percent of agency clients identified as gay or lesbian
  • 9 percent identified as bisexual
  • 1 percent identified as transgender

Additionally, more than 75 percent of responding agencies worked with transgender youth in the past year. Survey findings suggest that 30 percent of clients in housing programs targeting youth are LGBT.

A majority of LGBT youth are receiving services that are available to all young people, with 24 percent of agency youth-oriented programs specifically being designed for LGBT youth.

“The results of this survey act as further confirmation that America’s next generation of gay and transgender youth need us to stand with them so that they can stand on their own.” said Gregory Lewis, executive director of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund and its recently launched Forty to None Project, which seeks to empower LGBT homeless youth and raise awareness of the issues they face.

“One of our key findings shows that in order for that to happen we all need to join together and support the hard working and dedicated service providers helping these young people every day, we need to re-double our efforts to support them so they can help all of the youth in need,” he said.

Over the past 10 years, the percentage of homeless youth providers serving LGBT clients has increased from 82 percent to 94 percent.

Responding agencies noted that a lack of sufficient funding was a serious barrier in service provision. Five of the top six barriers to improving services targeting LGBT homelessness relate to a lack of funding from all forms of government, foundations and the public.

Based on data from 381 respondents, representing 354 agencies providing youth with homeless-related services, the report outlines key statistics on what LGBT youth populations are served by these agencies, who is most at risk, and why these populations are most at risk.

Requests to participate in the web-based survey were sent to all providers on the National Runaway Switchboard and CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers resource lists, as well as partner agencies of the True Colors Fund.

Click here to read the report.

© San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
An LGBTQ Nation media partner.

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Filed under: LGBTQ Life

17 more reader comments:

  1. very sad

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:31pm
  2. so so so sad :( I wish there was more we could do

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:32pm
  3. educate their parents

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:33pm
  4. so sad

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:34pm
  5. In the “Land of the Free”…….think about it !

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:35pm
  6. We have to do as much as possible to save our children

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:39pm
  7. As a country we need to get our heads out of the sand (or elsewhere) and take care of our own. Homelessness should not be an issue, but it is especially sad when you consider that LGBT youth has to face bullying and homelessness. Plus then we need to realize that another large population of homeless people are vets who served our country. What are we doing trying to help other countries when it’s clear we need to HELP OUR PEOPLE FIRST?!?!?!?!?

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:39pm
  8. I guess LGBT homelessness is not as enticing as the popular agenda of gay marriage. When are we going to realize that while we are fighting to marry, our queer youth are dying and struggling to survive on the streets? When is this issue going to be important to us instead of being left on the back burner, over and over again?

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:52pm
  9. And what’s the LGBT suicide rate?

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 8:54pm
  10. The problem is that one can fight for marriage…and win. With LBGTQ homeless…it’s something more primal and personal that can’t be sued/voted/lobbied/legislated into fixing. This is about parents who don’t want their kids for being LBGTQ or kids who don’t want to be with their parents for being LBGTQ (and yes sometimes it’s the kids who run away rather than the parent who pitch them out). This is a deep seated problem every LBGTQ person goes through, to one degree or another and there’s no easy or simple answer that can fix it….

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 9:20pm
  11. I’m still waiting for the morons to comment that they are all using drugs…

    Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 10:41pm
  12. Any parent that banishes their own children never deserved the privilege of parenthood, how many couples can’t have children and would give anything in the world to experience parenthood, yet we have these imbeciles that can and abuse that privilege. Pathetic is all I can say…..

    Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 2:53am
  13. I’ve never considered homelessness as an LGBTQI issue, but considering the number of LGBT friends I have who have been disowned by their parents I shouldn’t be so surprised. Saddened, but not surprise…

    Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 6:24am
  14. There is a group in MN called GLBT HOST HOME PROGRAM OF AVENUES FOR HOMELESS YOUTH. They also need volunteers to share their homes to these youths. for more info check them out on facebook as
    or web sites

    Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 10:10am
  15. no offence but i think that any LGBT kid/person/teenager…should put effort into themselves and prove to the world they can accomplish anything being who they are instead of being lazy and deciding to go homeless, there are alot of support groups that will help them get back ont their feet, but they choose not to sometimes

    Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 6:00pm
  16. what they come out of the closet and are kicked out of the houses with nothing and dont always know how to get help. its hard to trust other adults after the one that should love you for who you are no matter what.

    Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 7:47pm
  17. Parentalrights needs to be terminated

    Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 5:29pm