LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to face homelessness

Many LGBT youth who are rejected by their own families often encounter prejudice, harassment and abuse when they shift to a foster home. FIle

New research claims that homeless youth that are LGBTQ are twice as likely to face homelessness than straight youth, and those who are homeless are at a significantly higher risk of violence and death compared to straight youth.

The study, from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, included a phone survey of 26,161 youth across over 22 counties, as well as 215 in-depth interviews with LGBTQ-identified homeless kids. This is the second in a series of briefs done as part of the Voices of Youth Count project, attempting to link evidence and action in an effort to end youth homelessness.

LGBT youth were shown to face a higher percentage of risky conditions on the streets, including being 15% more likely to be physically harmed, 10% more likely to self-harm, and 18% more likely to exchange sex for basic needs.

Discrimination both within and outside their family was also far more likely, with 64% of LHBTQ youth reporting such from their family, and 60% outside of it. This compared to only 37% of straight youth reporting either.

Further, race also played a part, with youth who are black or multiracial and LGBTQ being 16% more likely to be homeless, versus only 4% for white, straight youth.

Matthew Morton, the principal Investigator for Voices of Youth Count, wants to offer up a silver lining. “The findings are a bit grim, but hopefully it will galvanize communities to help these young people.

This is a very resilient population, and many expressed hope that they can rise above their circumstances,” he continued. “The message here is really from the youth themselves – if we listen to them and offer help where it’s needed, they can make great progress.”

In the first Voices of Youth Count Study, from 2017, it was discovered that one in thirty 13-17 year olds had been homeless at some point in the year before.

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