Friday, April 29, 2016

Activists Address LGBTQ Homeless Youth Crisis

Produced by Charlotte Robinson

In this exclusive audio broadcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a conference call with The National LGBTQ Task Force and the True Colors Fund announcing a new tool for individuals and communities working to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning youth experiencing homelessness. “At The Intersections” is the new online resource written by 47 contributors that provides a comprehensive guide for advocates, policymakers, service providers and funders working to end homelessness among LGBTQ youth. The first-of-its-kind online publication highlights innovative approaches to supporting youth experiencing homelessness, provides successful case studies as well as concrete solutions to ending LGBTQ youth homelessness. In this country up to 40 percent of young people experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ although they represent less than 10 percent of the general youth population. Participating on the call were Meghan Maury, Criminal & Economic Justice Project Director with National LGBTQ Task Force, Christa Price, MSW Program Officer with True Colors Fund, Jama Shelton, LMSW PhD, Deputy Executive Director at True Colors Fund, Coco Wheeler, Community Organizing Student with True Colors Fund, Sassafras Lowery, Author & Advocate, Thomas Wilson an LGBTQ youth who has experienced homelessness and hosted by Jorge Amaro Media and Public Relations Director for The Task Force to talk about this new resource and discuss continued efforts to support LGBTQ youth.

Meghan Maury stated, “Close to 40 percent of youth that experience homelessness identify as LGBTQ. There are many factors that contribute to LGBTQ youth homelessness, including family rejection, abuse, aging out of foster care, economic hardship, bullying and school harassment. This guide calls for a nuanced understanding in order to inform the creation of effective systems and programs that will meet the needs of the diverse population of LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness.” Christa Price concluded, “The needs and wants of each young person who is experiencing homelessness differ greatly. In some cities there may be a relatively large amount of shelter space for young people but significant gaps in access to physical and mental health care. In other cities there may be a more robust system of care but a higher likelihood of justice system involvement. ‘At the Intersections’ gives providers a framework on how to respond to the individual needs of young people and the systemic gaps they have identified locally.”

LGBTQ youth suffer higher rates of physical and sexual assault than heterosexual youth experiencing homelessness. In order to survive, 28 percent of homeless LGBTQ youth report trading sex for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Additionally LGBTQ youth are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ youth to attempt suicide. This new online resource also examines the relationship between racism and LGBTQ youth homelessness, the impact of immigration on LGBTQ young people and the systemic barriers faced by transgender and gender non-conforming youth experiencing homelessness. The National LGBTQ Task Force works to secure full freedom, justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. For over forty years, they have been at the forefront of the social justice movement by training thousands of organizers and advocating for change at the federal, state, and local level. Co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, the True Colors Fund works nationally to end homelessness among LGBT youth. Through a broad continuum of public engagement, public policy, youth collaboration, research and community organizing programs, the True Colors Fund is creating a world in which young people can be their true selves.
For More Info: attheintersections.org

1 comment:

Marilyn Rosen said...

This conversation is so important to raise the awareness of the diversity of homeless youth needs and that these orgs exist primarily to work to eliminate this problem. Thank you, Charlotte, for shedding light on the problem and the hope these orgs bring to the issue.