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This Young Advocate is Helping Providers Serve Undocumented LGBTQ Youth

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True Fellow Paola Robles Desgarennes is developing a toolkit to help providers serve undocumented LGBTQ youth.

Forced migration due to violence and poverty have contributed to the number of immigrants and refugees in the U.S. Once in the U.S., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) immigrants and refugees experience increased marginalization and discrimination due to their legal status and LGBTQ identities, and have limited to no access to government assistance such as healthcare or housing. These two factors are likely the greatest contributors to homelessness for undocumented immigrants who identify as LGBTQ.

The stakes are even higher for young people, many of whom are LGBTQ and seeking the safety and freedom to be who they truly are. Youth that migrate to the United States and live here without a permanent legal status face an uncertain future and are in constant fear of deportation. The barriers and challenges that these young people face get worse when they are rejected by their families when they come out of the closet isolating them from support systems that could prevent them from experiencing homelessness.

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A pathway to a better life.

I’m proud to be working with the True Colors Fund to develop a toolkit to help service providers and other partners meet the unique needs of undocumented and refugee youth who identify as LGBTQ. The toolkit will highlight topics such as family reunification, mental health, and education and training opportunities catered to the unique needs of undocumented and refugee youth who identify as LGBTQ.

By using this toolkit as guide of resources and collection of best practices, service providers will be able to develop a better understanding of the specific needs of undocumented LGBTQ youth, and implement strategies to serve them better and transition to a better life. My hope is that this toolkit builds a path for change and takes us a step closer to ending youth homelessness.

Learn more at the 40 to None Summit.

Paola and the rest of the 2017 True Fellows will be speaking at the 40 to None Summit next week (October 3-4) in Philadelphia, PA!

Register for the 40 to None Summit

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As the 2017 True Education Fellow, Paola is working on our online training content to make sure it is inclusive and up-to-date.