Currently an estimated 1.6-2.8 million homeless youth are in the United States, up to 40% of which identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ+).
One in four LGBTQ+ youth are kicked out for being gay.
There are a number of causes for their homelessness, from abusive homes, running away to avoid hurting their family and being kicked out.
Homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community is one area that is often over looked.
“You don’t throw you kid away but sometimes because of the religious dogma they believe, they feel their religious dogma is more important,” said Cyndi Lauper, in a Nov. 2011 episode of the PBS program “In the Life”.
The state of New York has recently started a program to help the LGBTQ+ homeless issue, Called the True Colors residence. This residence is the first affordable housing for at risk LGBTQ+ youth.
Residents are required to be 18-24, currently homeless with a history of homelessness, identify as LGBTQ+ and to pay rent.
Is this a solution?
Yes, this can help multitudes of people across the nation.
As I came out I was able to live with my family, but I had friends that could not come out to their family in fear of becoming homeless.
If more of this type of housing was offered the number of homeless LGBTQ+ youth would drop dramatically.
At the True Colors Residence, they offer education in real life, from bill management, life management and employment education.
Implementing this program nationwide could help not only the LGBTQ+ community but the homeless community at large.
“Queer youth homelessness is not as sexy as marriage equality, it doesn’t have as good of sound bites as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, it has not been an issue that has risen to the level of other things we see as important,” said Sassafras Lowery, in a Nov. 2011 episode of “In the Life.”
We need to stop pushing the homeless in the LGBTQ+ community to the background.
With programs like the True Colors Residence we can change this.
There are many organizations out there helping the LGBTQ+ youth fight homelessness, such as the Night Ministry, which provides emergency shelter and food to these youth.
Moving forward we need to help support these programs fight the stigma around homelessness whether LGBTQ+ or not.
While I may not be homeless, I have a voice to speak out and inform the community of this issue and address those who feel it is okay to kick LGBTQ+ youth out on the streets, and tell them that just because you happen to have a child that is LGBTQ+, it is never okay to kick them to the curb.