Serving Our Youth 2015: The Needs and Experiences of LGBTQ Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Posted on: June 11th, 2015

Earlier this week, a new study was released by the True Colors Fund, The William’s Institute and The Palette Fund on the problems facing LGBT+ youth experiencing homelessness.

Some key findings include:


  • Service providers reported that LGBTQ youth are homeless for longer periods of time than non-LGBTQ youth and that LGBTQ youth accessing their services were in worse mental and physical health than non-LGBTQ youth. In particular, providers were more likely to report that transgender youth experienced these disparities.
  • LGBTQ youth continue to be overrepresented in the population of youth experiencing homelessness, and LGBTQ youth experience homelessness for a variety of reasons, including the intersection of homophobia & transphobia, poverty, and failed systems.
  • According to service providers, the majority of LGBTQ youth they work with are homeless due to identity based family rejection. Additional reasons include family issues, aging out of the foster care system, family poverty, and abuse in the home.
  • Housing was the number one need for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, as identified by providers. Transition-related support was also identified as a critical need for transgender youth.
  • Transgender youth are estimated to have experienced bullying, family rejection, and physical and sexual abuse at higher rates than LGBQ youth.
  • Survey respondents cited staff qualities and characteristics, such as LGBTQ-inclusion and staff competencies, and program qualities, such as targeted programming for LGBTQ youth, as reasons for success in serving LGBTQ youth who are homeless. Many respondents also point to lack of training in serving LGBTQ needs as a barrier.


Check out the study by clicking here.


This new report makes it clear that we have a great deal of work still to do in many communities, but we at Zebra Coalition are proud of the work our coalition partners, organizations and agencies are doing together to ensure the LGBT+ young people we work with every day in Central Florida receive safe, supportive and culturally competent care and services. Because of our collective efforts, Zebra Coalition is able to meet the specialized needs of LGBT+ youth experiencing homelessness every day.