Saturday, February 10, 2007
LGBT Youth and Homelessness
In a recent study released by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, it’s stated that:
Of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth, between 20 and 40 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Why do LGBT youth become homeless? In one study, 26 percent of gay teens who came out to their parents/guardians were told they must leave home; LGBT youth also leave home due to physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Homeless LGBT youth are more likely to use drugs, participate in sex work, and attempt suicide. Also, LGBT youth report they are threatened, belittled and abused at shelters by staff as well as other residents.
Clearly, homelessness among youth disparately impacts LGBT youth.
Yet there’s hope in a new opportunity to help all homeless youth.
HR 601, the FAFSA Fix for Homeless Kids Act, would expand the definition of “independent student” in the Higher Education Act of 1965 to include homeless youth, and accordingly provide a pathway to college (and housing) for more homeless youth.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Judy Biggert of IL and is currently co-sponsored only by Rep. Ruben Hinojosa of TX.
If you’re a U.S citizen and reading this, please ask your Representative to co-sponsor this important legislation.
Image 1: Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
Image 2: The Children at Risk Foundation
See also the following Wild Reed posts:
Confronting Classroom Homophobia
Making Sure All Families Matter
Out at a Catholic University