Young, Vulnerable Population Over Represented Faces Crime and Discrimination
This week, the plight of LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – youth became the focus of the Obama administration and the print and radio media. National organizations estimate that this group makes up 20-40% of the 600,000 homeless youth in the United States while only 5% of youth in the country identify themselves as lesbian, gay and bisexual.
LGBT youth at are greater risk for homelessness than their straight peers because they are often rejected by family after coming out – 1 in 3 are thrown out of their homes by their parents – and they do not feel welcome and safe at shelters where they are bullied and beaten.
Left to their own devices and “couch surfing” with family and friends and living on the streets, including in subways, in train stations, and abandoned buildings, this population is often the victim of violent crime and must often resort to “survival sex” to find a warm place to sleep.
“We’ve won battles for gay marriage and gays in the military,” says Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of the New York-based Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization for LGBT youth. “This is the next frontier, the next battle: helping these youths.”
The Obama Administration held a national conference addressing housing and homelessness for America’s LGBT community in Detroit.
Monarch Housing Associates is keenly interested in best practice models addressing the needs of all homeless youth, including the LGBT population, and plans to include posts on our website that will give us all ideas of what we can do to solve this critical problem.