Homeless LGBT Youth a “National Disgrace”Â By: ANDY HUMMÂ 02/01/2007
“It is a national disgrace that 20 to 40 percent of homeless youth are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, given that only an estimated three to five percent of the U.S. population is gay or lesbian. “It is a further disgrace that federal programs that assist homeless young people have been pitifully underfunded.”
Foreman made his remarks as the Task Force released a new report, “LGBT Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness” in league with the National Coalition for the Homeless. The report estimates that up to 640,000 homeless or runaway youth are LGBT, attributing the problem to “the harassment and violence that many of these youth experience in the existing public shelter system,” among other causes, including rejection by parents, bullying by peers, and victimization by sexual predators.
The report highlights model programs to help this population across the country from Detroit to Waltham, Massachusetts to the Green Chimneys housing units here in New York.
In addition to calling on the federal government for more funding, the Task Force is demanding that all agencies serving homeless youth adopt a policy banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.