Approximately 1.6 million youth are homeless without their families in the U.S. each year. LGBT youth are significantly overrepresented among homeless populations, making up 20-40 percent of homeless youth.
On July 10, 2013, the LGBT, Questioning, Intersex, and Two-Spirit Learning Community of AIR’s Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health hosted a webinar, Ending LGBT Youth Homelessness: A Call to Action, to raise awareness and share solutions.
LGBT youth are also more likely to experience bias and trauma—associated with their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression—and disparities in the quality of care when accessing resources from human service systems. Because homelessness is a devastating experience that has a significant impact on well-being and functioning, increased awareness and solutions supporting long-term housing stability for LGBT youth are critical.
Many service providers lack an understanding of the needs of LGBT youth who are homeless. It is critical that these providers access training and other professional development opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective services to LGBT youth—including cultural competencies. The webinar highlighted issues contributing to homelessness among LGBT youth, described strategies to reduce homelessness among LGBT youth and provide trauma-informed care, and shared lessons learned from the field for more than 140 homeless and other systems of care service providers.
Webinar presenters included Jeffrey Poirier, American Institutes for Research; Christina Murphy, The National Center on Family Homelessness, a practice area of AIR’s Human and Social Development program; Jama Shelton, True Colors Fund; and Simon Costello, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health provides technical assistance to system of care communities funded to operate the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families Program. The Technical Assistance Partnership is a collaboration between AIR and the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. It is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
AIR develops knowledge and understanding about LGBT youth that takes account of their experiences and needs. We also enhances opportunities for the healthy development, well-being, and safety of LGBT children, youth, and their families by providing workforce training and technical assistance to service providers across systems addressing behavioral health, child welfare, education, juvenile justice, and homelessness. Read more about AIR’s work on LGBT youth.