We’re thrilled to announce today the beginning stages of implementation of the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative, a first-of-its-kind effort to identify successful strategies to ensure that no young person is left without a home because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. A partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since 2013, the initiative is now ready to be implemented in Harris County, TX and Hamilton County, OH.
“Every American should have access to decent, affordable housing. It’s a tragedy that so many LGBTQ youth are being mistreated simply because of who they are, making them particularly vulnerable to homelessness,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “Our partnership with the True Colors Fund and these two communities will help ensure that these young folks have a place to call home and an opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
Over the next two years, the initiative will develop and evaluate strategies to prevent lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth from becoming homeless or intervene as early as possible once they do become homeless. Family rejection based on a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is the most frequently cited reason LGBTQ youth experience homelessness. Through this initiative, we’re working with families and youth to address and prevent conflict in the home. Once completed, the resources and tools developed by the initiative will be available for replication and implementation in communities across the country.
“No young person deserves to be homeless, let alone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We must stand with America’s next generation to ensure that they all have a safe and supportive place to call home,” said Cyndi Lauper, co-founder of the True Colors Fund. “If we truly want to end youth homelessness, which is a fixable issue, then we have to invest in prevention and support communities as they work to implement these life-changing efforts.”
The plans were developed by collaborators within the community, including teachers, faith leaders, homeless youth service providers, counselors, police officers, advocates, and young people themselves. “I refuse to be another story of neglect, abuse, and shame,” said Daniella Carter, 20, who was featured on MTV/Logo’s The T Word and is an advocate working with the True Colors Fund. “Help us turn the unimaginable into reality.”
Read the full press release here. To learn more about the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative in Harris County, click here. And to learn more about the initiative in Hamilton County, click here.