A network of support
But few are engineered to address the specific issues that LGBTQ+ youths face.
For instance, there are homeless shelters for young people all over the country, but most cater to the population in general, even though LGBTQ+ youths constitute about 40 percent of the individuals they serve, according to the “Serving Our Youth” report from The Williams Institute (Durso, 2012).
A lack of funding compounds the problem, forcing organizations to do a lot with a little.
But a simple focus on the main cause of strife for LGBTQ+ youths could change everything. Research shows that family rejection is the biggest factor contributing to the homelessness of LGBTQ+ youths, and yet 40 percent of organizations that serve homeless LGBTQ+ youths don’t have programs in place to address that. Homeless organizations aren’t alone in their avoidance of the issue, and according to a study from the Family Acceptance Project, programming that tackles family head on is critical to serving this population well — in all aspects of their life.
“Advocates and service providers need to know how to recognize and help parents decrease damaging rejecting behaviors, and how to effectively intervene with families to prevent irreparable harm to LGBT youth. They also need to learn how to help maintain LGBT children and youth in their homes by implementing family intervention strategies, rather than automatically removing these children and youth from the home when family conflict arises,” according to an article on Americanprogress.org written by Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Jeff Krehely, former senior vice president for domestic policy at the Center for American Progress.
Read more about how organizations can adapt to provide more support for LGBTQ+ youths, especially when it comes to improving family dynamics and creating more supportive home environments.
Durso, L. E., Gates, G. J. (2012, July). Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Service Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Who Are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Retrieved from https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Durso-Gates-LGBT-Homeless-Youth-Survey-July-2012.pdf
Minter, S. & Krehely, J. (2011, February 7). New Research Calls for a Revolution in Public Policy for LGBT Children and Youth. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/reports/2011/02/07/9117/families-matter/