Providing solutions to LGBT homeless youth: Lessons from Baltimore’s youth empowered society

In the United States, nearly 1.7 million youth under the age of 18 run away from home and often end up homeless each year. Reports estimate that between 20% and 40% of the runaway and homeless youth population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) (Durso & Gates, 2012 Durso, L. E., & Gates, G. J. (2012). Serving our youth: Findings from a national survey of service providers working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Retrieved from https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Durso-Gates-LGBT-Homeless-Youth-Survey-July-2012.pdf [Google Scholar]; Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation. (2014). Health and access to care and coverage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in the U.S. Retrieved from http://files.kff.org/attachment/Issue-Brief-Health-and-Access-to-Care-and-Coverage-for-LGBT-Individuals-in-the-US [Google Scholar]). This suggests that as many as 80,000 LGBT youth are homeless for over a week each year (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2012 National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2012). LGBTQ youth national policy statement. Retrieved from http://www.endhomelessness.org/page/-/files/4552_file_LGBTQ_Youth_National_Policy_Statement_April_2012_Final.pdf [Google Scholar]). In addition, LGBT youth are more likely to suffer from poverty, substance abuse, violence, mental illness, and attempted suicide as a result of harassment and discrimination (Cray, Miller, & Durso, 2013 Cray, A., Miller, K., & Durso, L. (2013). Seeking shelter: The experiences and unmet needs of LGBT homeless youth. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/LGBTHomelessYouth.pdf [Google Scholar]; Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation. (2014). Health and access to care and coverage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in the U.S. Retrieved from http://files.kff.org/attachment/Issue-Brief-Health-and-Access-to-Care-and-Coverage-for-LGBT-Individuals-in-the-US [Google Scholar]; Swan, 2014 Swan, W. (2014). Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights: A public policy agenda for uniting a divided America. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. doi:10.1201/b17485[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]). Grounded in social equity theory (Frederickson, 2010 Frederickson, H. G. (2010). Social equity and public administration: Origins, developments and applications. New York, NY: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315700748[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]) and intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991 Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299. doi:10.2307/1229039[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]), this article argues that additional legal protections are necessary in order to ensure the constitutional rights of LGBT youth. A case study of the Youth Empowered Society (YES) in Baltimore City is provided as an example of a service-delivery model for this vulnerable population. Best practices are identified and anti-discrimination policies are recommended.

In the United States, nearly 1.7 million youth under the age of 18 run away from home and often end up homeless each year. Reports estimate that between 20% and 40% of the runaway and homeless youth population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) (Durso & Gates, 2012 Durso, L. E., & Gates, G. J. (2012). Serving our youth: Findings from a national survey of service providers working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Retrieved from https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Durso-Gates-LGBT-Homeless-Youth-Survey-July-2012.pdf [Google Scholar]; Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation. (2014). Health and access to care and coverage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in the U.S. Retrieved from http://files.kff.org/attachment/Issue-Brief-Health-and-Access-to-Care-and-Coverage-for-LGBT-Individuals-in-the-US [Google Scholar]). This suggests that as many as 80,000 LGBT youth are homeless for over a week each year (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2012 National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2012). LGBTQ youth national policy statement. Retrieved from http://www.endhomelessness.org/page/-/files/4552_file_LGBTQ_Youth_National_Policy_Statement_April_2012_Final.pdf [Google Scholar]). In addition, LGBT youth are more likely to suffer from poverty, substance abuse, violence, mental illness, and attempted suicide as a result of harassment and discrimination (Cray, Miller, & Durso, 2013 Cray, A., Miller, K., & Durso, L. (2013). Seeking shelter: The experiences and unmet needs of LGBT homeless youth. Retrieved from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/LGBTHomelessYouth.pdf [Google Scholar]; Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation. (2014). Health and access to care and coverage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in the U.S. Retrieved from http://files.kff.org/attachment/Issue-Brief-Health-and-Access-to-Care-and-Coverage-for-LGBT-Individuals-in-the-US [Google Scholar]; Swan, 2014 Swan, W. (2014). Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights: A public policy agenda for uniting a divided America. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. doi:10.1201/b17485[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]). Grounded in social equity theory (Frederickson, 2010 Frederickson, H. G. (2010). Social equity and public administration: Origins, developments and applications. New York, NY: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315700748[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]) and intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991 Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299. doi:10.2307/1229039[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]), this article argues that additional legal protections are necessary in order to ensure the constitutional rights of LGBT youth. A case study of the Youth Empowered Society (YES) in Baltimore City is provided as an example of a service-delivery model for this vulnerable population. Best practices are identified and anti-discrimination policies are recommended.

File Type: 1333943
Categories: Case Studies, Current Issues, Ethics, Practitioner & Policy Ex., Social Equity