Time Out Youth Center has been busy this year! Over the past year, the Charlotte, North Carolina center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth conducted a study to research the needs and interests of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness in the Carolinas.
Through focus groups and surveys with youth and service providers, the Center learned a lot about the experiences of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, and what these young people need in order to thrive. Few formal surveys have been conducted on this issue (check our own national report), and documentation of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness in the Carolinas has been limited to informal data. That’s what makes the LGBTQ Homeless Youth of the Carolinas Needs Assessment such a big deal.
“As we celebrate a quarter century of supporting LGBTQ youth, we feel the call to move forward with a plan to meaningfully address one of the most basic of our LGBTQ youth’s needs – a safe and stable place to live,” stated Rodney Tucker, Time Out Youth Center’s Executive Director. “With so many LGBTQ youth facing homelessness in the Carolinas, The Center is virtually the only safe resource for housing and support. The publication of this report serves as a call to members of our community – policy makers, service providers, funding agencies and many others – to act on recommendations from this project.”
The report found that rates of homelessness among LGBTQ youth, particularly LGBTQ youth of color, continue to rise in the Carolinas. In 2013, Time Out Youth Center received 40 inquiries for housing. That number increased to 57 in 2014, and to 111 in 2015. In 2015, eight LGBTQ-identified youth were housed through the Center’s Home Host Program for a total of 643 nights. The study points to a need for a permanent shelter.
In order to address the rising issue of homelessness among LGBTQ youth in the Carolinas, the report urges housing organizations, advocates, and government officials to organize together around the following recommendations:
- LGBTQ Homeless Youth Shelter (establish and open a dedicated shelter)
- Access to Basic Necessities (provide access to meals, clothing, storage space, and toiletries)
- Housing Case Management Services (service providers and organizations must offer culturally competent housing services)
- Training & Professional Development (service providers must have access to training and professional development on LGBTQ issues in order to offer the best culturally competent services and care)
- Mental Health Services (LGBTQ youth must have access to free individual therapeutic services)
- Employment Assistance (LGBTQ youth must have access to case management and support services for job training and employment)
Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, and check out the full report here.