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An Epidemic of Homelessness

An Epidemic of Homelessness

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Published by woodstockwoody
Through a comprehensive review of available academic research
and professional literature, this report attempts to answer some basic questions, including
why so many LGBT youth are becoming and remaining homeless.
It also reports on the harassment and violence that many of these youth
experience in the shelter system and we summarize research on
critical problems affecting them, including mental health issues,
substance abuse and risky sexual behavior. It also analyzes the
federal government’s response to youth homelessness, including the specific impact on
LGBT homeless youth of increased federal funding for faith-based service providers.
Through a comprehensive review of available academic research
and professional literature, this report attempts to answer some basic questions, including
why so many LGBT youth are becoming and remaining homeless.
It also reports on the harassment and violence that many of these youth
experience in the shelter system and we summarize research on
critical problems affecting them, including mental health issues,
substance abuse and risky sexual behavior. It also analyzes the
federal government’s response to youth homelessness, including the specific impact on
LGBT homeless youth of increased federal funding for faith-based service providers.

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Published by: woodstockwoody on Oct 18, 2011
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01/21/2013

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LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL ANDTRANSGENDER YOUTH
An Epidemic ofHomelessness
by
Nicholas Ray
with chapters contributed by
Colby Berger,
Waltham House, Waltham, Mass.
Susan Boyle,
Urban Peak, Denver, Colo.
Mary Jo Callan and Mia White,
Ozone House, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Grace McCelland,
Ruth Ellis Center, Detroit, Mich.
Theresa Nolan,
Green Chimneys, New York, N.Y.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy InstituteNational Coalition for the Homeless
 
ii
HomelessnessLGBT Youth
The
National Gay and Lesbian TaskForce Policy Institute
is a think tankdedicated to research, policy analysis andstrategy development to advance greater understanding and equality for lesbian,gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Washington, DC
1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 600Washington, DC 20005-4171Tel 202 393 5177Fax 202 393 2241
New York, NY
80 Maiden Lane, Suite 1504New York, NY 10038Tel 212 604 9830Fax 212 604 9831
Los Angeles, CA
8704 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 200West Hollywood, CA 90069Tel 310 855 7380Fax 310 358 9415
ngltf@thetaskforce.orgCambridge, MA
1151 Massachusetts AvenueCambridge, MA 02138Tel 617 492 6393Fax 617 492 0175
Miami, FL
3510 Biscayne Blvd Suite 206Miami, FL 33137Tel 305 571 1924Fax 305 571 7298
Minneapolis, MN
810 West 31st StreetMineeapolis, MN 55408Tel/Fax 612 821 4397
www.thetaskforce.org
© 2006 The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy InstituteWhen referencing this document, we recommend the following citation:Ray, N. (2006).
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness
. New York: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force PolicyInstitute and the National Coalition for the Homeless.
National Coalitionfor the Homeless
www.nationalhomeless.org
 
iii
 
iii
Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1Why are so many LGBT youth becoming homeless? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1What impact does homelessness have on LGBT youth specifically? . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
 Mental health issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2
 Substance abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2
Risky sexual behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3
Victimization of homeless LGBT youth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3
LGBT homeless youth and the Juvenile and criminal justice systems . . . . . . . . .
3Transgender homeless youth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4The federal response to youth homelessness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
The potential for anti-LGBT discrimination at faith-based service providers . . .
4The experiences of LGBT homeless youth in the shelter system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Model programs to improve service delivery to LGBT homeless youth . . . . . . . . . . .6Conclusion and policy recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Federal level recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 State and local level recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Practitioner level recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
What is the definition of “homeless youth?” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9HOW MANY LGBT HOMELESS YOUTH ARE THEREAND WHY DO THEY BECOME HOMELESS? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
A note on acronyms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
11Barriers to a more accurate count . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14Why do youth become homeless? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
 Sexual orientation and gender identity issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16
Physical or sexual assault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
18
Additional factors that lead to homelessness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
19Why do youth remain homeless? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21THE FEDERAL RESPONSE TO YOUTH HOMELESSNESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
A brief legislative history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
25
Congress acts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 

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