Homelessness is a significant issue for many LGBTQ+ youth because despite being a small percentage of the general population, there are estimates that suggest that up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+ and that family rejection is a big reason why. And the number of youth experiencing homelessness is growing in some cities.
The National Coalition for the Homeless has compiled a list of resources for LGBTQ+ homeless youth, including research done in 2002 about experiencing homelessness and another report form the National Coalition for the Homeless. KBOO, a community radio station in Oregon, did a piece in 2010 that highlighted stories of LGBTQ+ youth being kicked out. Lambda Legal has a brochure about this issue and the Homelessness Resource Center has a long list of resources available as well.
There are resources available to LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. Some cities (usually major ones) that have community centers and/or shelters that help, including:
- New Alternatives in New York City
- SMYRC (Sexual and Gender Minority Resource Center) in Portland, OR
- Janus Youth Programs in Portland, OR (not specific to LGBTQ+ youth)
- The ISIS House in Seattle, WA
- Essex County LGBT RAIN Foundation in East Orange, New Jersey
- Youth on Fire in Cambridge, Massachusetts
There are other resources out there but being able to access consistent and transitional housing is so important. And of course, there are issues like discrimination based on gender identity/expression from homeless shelters themselves. Ultimately, I believe that the queer community (myself included) needs to step up more to support queer youth experiencing homelessness.