Population at Significant Risk for Homelessness & Poverty
“We cannot have a national conversation about poverty without including youth homelessness, and we cannot have a conversation about LGBT issues without addressing poverty and the terrible impact it has on many of our youth. The time has come to start a new conversation. And that will be an enormous step forward toward a future where no youth is forced to sleep on the street because of who he or she is, “ writes Laura Hughes, Executive Director of Detroit’s Ruth Ellis Center.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth make up a significant portion of the homeless youth population. In Detroit, it is estimated that 800 of the 2,000 homeless youth are LGBT.
Using the LGBT youth population that she works with in Detroit as an example, many resort to life on the streets after being kicked out by family or voluntarily choosing to leave their homes. Life on the street is extremely difficult often putting them at risk for depression, suicide, substance abuse and violence.
“All these factors — race, recession, unemployment, sexuality and more (including drug use and incarceration rates) are deeply intertwined. The result is a vicious cycle of perpetual poverty for far too many youth in this city.’