A report released by the True Colors Fund finds that youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) make up nearly 30% of homeless youth assisted by service providers. The report is based on the 2014 LGBTQ Homeless Youth Provider Survey, which collected responses from 138 homeless youth service providers between March and June 2014. The service providers reported a 20% uptick in the number of LGBTQ youth served over the past ten years. The report concludes that there is an overrepresentation of LGBTQ youth in need of assistance from housing and homelessness providers.
The study focused on understanding the experiences of homeless LGBTQ youth. Seventy-eight percent of LGBQ youth and 85% of transgender youth reported that forced removal from their homes by their parents was the main reason for their homelessness, followed by family issues (47% LGBQ youth, 39% transgender youth), and aging out of the foster care system (30% LGBQ youth, 36% transgender youth).
Longer periods of homelessness than their non-LGBTQ counterparts were experienced by 61% of LGBQ youth and 80% of transgender youth. Providers reported that LGBTQ clients have worse physical and mental health than their non-LGBTQ counterparts. For example, 65% of LGBQ and 75% of transgender homeless youth experienced mental health issues.
Homeless service providers indicate that the greatest need homeless LGBQ youth have is for permanent and transitional affordable housing (26%), followed by emotional support (19%), employment (18%), and healthcare (18%). However, only 16% of providers offer permanent housing and only 23% offer rental assistance. More commonly, providers deliver drop-in services (61%), homeless prevention services (61%), and street outreach (55%).
Serving our Youth 2015: The Needs and Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth Experiencing Homelessness, is at http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Serving-Our-Youth-June-2015.pdf