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Forgotten Youth: Homeless LGBT Youth of Color and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
Year Published: 2017
Journal of Law and Social Policy
Northwestern University School of Law
The rate of youth homelessness in America has steadily grown, giving rise to corrective policies such as the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 1974 (RHYA). This Act provides services and programs specifically designed to aid homeless youth. While it has had some success, this author says, not all homeless youth benefit from it equally. The RHYA does not specifically account for differences in age, race, gender and sexuality, which causes some youth in need to miss out on the services and programs that their peers receive. As a result, a disproportionate percentage of youth of color, especially LGBT youth of color, experience homelessness. In this commentary, the author explores how and why this problem occurs, and what effects it has on homeless LGBT youth of color. She also proposes four broad, non-program specific revisions to the RHYA to better support LGBT youth of color, as well as homeless youth in general. Modified Author Abstract.