Promising Practices for Serving LGBTQ Homeless Youth

Photograph of a smiling young woman.

Just a few years ago, it was hard for youth workers to find information about how best to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth experiencing homelessness. But the number of free resources on working with LGBTQ youth is growing. The National Alliance to End Homelessness and several other organizations in 2009 released “National Recommended Best Practices for Serving LGBT Youth,” which includes a list of principles that apply whether or not the young people you work with are homeless. Then in 2011, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a report (PDF, 3.38MB) based on its nationwide listening tour of programs that work with LGBTQ homeless youth.

The latest addition to these helpful resources is a toolkit (PDF, 747KB) published last fall by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections. The center interviewed staff at 19 organizations that work with LGBTQ youth and compiled promising practices, a list of gaps in services available to these young people, and directions for future research.

We like the practical tools in the document, including

  • Sample interview questions for hiring staff in administrative and direct service positions
  • LGBTQ-affirming statements programs can use to make youth feel comfortable
  • Questions agencies can use to learn a young adult’s sexual orientation, gender identity and preferred gender pronoun

We’ve also got advice on serving LGBTQ youth, right here on the NCFY site:

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