Today, HRC is joining the True Colors Fund and other advocates across the country to raise public awareness about LGBTQ youth homelessness for #40toNoneDay. Consistent research shows that LGBTQ youth are over-represented among the homeless, comprising up to 40 percent of the total unaccompanied homeless youth population, even though they make up five to 10 percent of the overall youth population. #40toNoneDay aims to raise awareness of this issue and encourage people to take action to bring the rate of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ from 40 to none.
The consequences of homelessness in the United States, particularly for LGBTQ youth, are far reaching and can last a lifetime. Homelessness is harmful to mental and physical health and youth who are homeless are at an increased risk for sexual abuse and exploitation, chemical and alcohol dependency, social stigma and discrimination. These youth also experience lower levels of long-term educational attainment—placing them at an even greater disadvantage when they enter the job market.
To address the disproportionate number of LGBTQ youth who are homeless, HRC advocates for federal action to prevent homelessness, improve funding for homeless youth programs and expand existing programs to make them more inclusive of LGBTQ youth. For example, HRC is strongly advocating for the passage of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA), which would reauthorize essential Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs, including prevention, emergency shelters, street outreach, transitional living and assistance in rural areas. Notably, RHYTPA includes an explicit non-discrimination provision that would prohibit any provider of these services from discriminating against youth based on their gender identity and sexual orientation, among other characteristics.
In addition, the HRC Foundation’s All Children - All Families Project works with public and private adoption and foster care agencies to improve their practices with LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ prospective parents. This work aims to expand the number of caring, qualified adults who are able to parent youth in foster care, including the disproportionate number of LGBTQ youth in care, many of whom were rejected by their families or origin.
This work is complemented by HRC’s advocacy for the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would prohibit any public child welfare agency receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against any potential foster or adoptive family on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
Yesterday, HRC joined Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro for a Twitter chat on fair housing, including their work to end LGBTQ youth homelessness.
“In FY16 budget HUD got an add'tl $33M to address youth homelessness, incl. #LGBT youth,” Castro tweeted.
Please check out HRC’s resource page on LGBTQ youth homelessness and join us by using the hashtag #40toNoneDay on social media as you help raise awareness of this important issue.