What the Youth Count! Initiative Found Out About Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Homeless Youth

Diverse young people.

Youth Count! was a nine-site interagency initiative to develop promising strategies for counting unaccompanied homeless youth, up to 24-years-old, through innovative implementations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2013 Point-in-Time count. A new brief from Urban Institute (PDF, 143KB), which conducted a process study of the initiative, looks at findings related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, who have been estimated by other studies to make up 20 to 40 percent of homeless young people.

Youth Count! echoes those findings. Among the six sites for which data are available on young people’s sexual orientation, 19 percent of youth surveyed identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual and 3 percent identified as questioning. The percentage varied greatly by site, from 10 percent in Winston-Salem, NC, to 43 percent in New York City.

The Urban Institute brief makes the following recommendations for better including LGBTQ homeless youth in point-in-time counts:

  • Partnering with LGBTQ agencies.
  • Conducting counts in places that LGBTQ youth frequent.
  • Showing signs of support through positive messaging, such as rainbows, pink triangles, or “hate-free” and “safe zone” stickers.
  • Involving youth in the count’s design and administration.

Read the brief (PDF, 143KB).

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children & Families.

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