Friday, March 20, 2015

LGBT Homeless Youth Epidemic

As the Senate continues to debate anti-human trafficking legislation that would also provide much needed services to runaway & homeless youth especially those who are LGBT through an amendment reauthorizing the Runaway & Homeless Youth Act, the Center for American Progress released a column outlining ways in which the Department of Health & Human Services can act independently to make an immediate difference for LGBT homeless young people. Hannah Hussey, CAP Research Associate for LGBT Progress stated, “Too many LGBT youth become homeless as a result of family rejection, poverty, or failures within the child welfare & juvenile justice systems. Once homeless, they may face discrimination & safety risks at shelters & other programs meant to provide basic services when there is nowhere else to go. The threats to the health & well-being of these young people are a pressing concern, making it vital for the Administration for Children & Families to take action to improve services for LGBT homeless youth.” According to recent research, roughly 40% of unaccompanied homeless youth are LGBT. These young people require the same services as other homeless youth—food, shelter, health care, counseling, education & career development but also face risks of discrimination that often lead to substandard services or no services at all. HHS currently has the statutory authority to make critical changes to the way LGBT homeless youth are treated right now that would not require new legislation.
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