Serving our Youth 2015: The Needs and Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth Experiencing Homelessness

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Praise-You-nun-pray-saint-smiley-emoticon-000709-huge“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” *Mother Teresa*

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This report summarizes findings from the 2014 LGBTQ Homeless Youth Provider Survey, a survey of 138 youth homelessness human service agency providers conducted from March 2014 through June 2014 designed to better understand homelessness among LGBTQ youth. This report updates a similar report based on a survey conducted in 2011 (see the previous study).

storeThis new survey was designed to obtain greater detail on the similar and distinct experiences of sexual minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning) and gender minority (transgender) youth experiencing homelessness.

This study highlights the need to further understand the differences in experiences between LGBTQ youth and non-LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, as well as between cisgender LGBQ youth and transgender youth. The data suggest staff training, targeted programming, and an environment of inclusion have helped providers better serve LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, yet, these strategies also appear to need further examination and evaluation.

Additional key findings include:

  • Housing was the number one need for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, as identified by providers. Transition-related support was also identified as a critical need for transgender youth.
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  • Transgender youth are estimated to have experienced bullying, family rejection, and physical and sexual abuse at higher rates than LGBQ youth.
  • Survey respondents cited staff qualities and characteristics, such as LGBTQ-inclusion and staff competencies, and program qualities, such as targeted programming for LGBTQ youth, as reasons for success in serving LGBTQ youth who are homeless. Many respondents also point to lack of training in serving LGBTQ needs as a barrier.

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ORGANIZATION: The Williams Institute; True Colors Fund – PUBLICATION DATE: 2015


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