Primary Sources: Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth Up to 13 Times More Likely to Be Homeless, New Study Finds

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Photograph of a young woman looking serious.

High Burden of Homelessness Among Sexual-Minority Adolescents: Findings From a Representative Massachusetts High School Sample," (abstract). American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 101, No. 9, September 2011.

What it's about: Youth who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual are commonly thought to be at higher risk for homelessness. This study adds to the body of research that is trying to quantify that increased risk by looking at data from the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The survey is one of the few in the country that asks high school students questions specifically meant to assess their sexual orientation and living situations.

Why read it: The numbers alone make this article worth reading: gay, lesbian and bisexual youth were four to 13 times more likely to be homeless at the time of the survey than their heterosexual peers were.  

Biggest take away for youth workers: The study found that gay, lesbian and bisexual youth were at greater risk of homelessness because they were more likely to be couch-hopping or living with noncustodial relatives rather than living with their parents or guardians. Educators and youth workers should be aware that gay, lesbian and bisexual youth who aren’t living with their parents may need additional support and services to prevent homelessness.  

Additional reference: Visit San Francisco State University’s Family Acceptance Project for a growing body of information and resources to help families understand how to support their gay, lesbian and bisexual children.  

(Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children and Families. Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of this and other publications.)

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