How To Keep LGBTQ Youth From Becoming Homeless: The Evidence

Photograph of diverse smiling young people.

In our recent podcast about runaway prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people, Forty to None Project Director Jama Shelton mentions research that has informed her initiative's approach. We asked Shelton to share some examples of the research she and her colleagues have relied on, and she highlighted two in particular:

"Supporting LGBT Youth and Their Families: The Family Acceptance Project." How do we prevent homelessness among LGBT youth?  One approach is to start with families. Researcher Caitlin Ryan and the Family Acceptance Project of the César E. Chávez Institute at San Francisco State University recently completed the first empirical study of how families respond and adapt when LGBT youth come out during adolescence. The authors found that 20 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT (nearly double the general population), and that 30 percent of those homeless young people say that family rejection played a role in their running away.

"Seeking Shelter." Youth are coming out to their families at younger ages, and all too often are being met with family rejection or abusive responses that force them out of their homes. In fact, the most common reasons that LGBT homeless youth cite for being out of their homes are family rejection and conflict. The authors of this report from the Center for American Progress recommend anti-bullying policies and reforms to the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, interaction with which disproportionately leads to homelessness for many young people.

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