True Colors United implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people.
In the United States, 4.2 million youth experience homelessness each year, with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ peers. True Colors United is committed to changing that.
If we can ensure that services are safe for and affirming of the most impacted young people, we can be confident that they’ll be safe and affirming for everyone. We believe that youth homelessness is a community issue. Real change can happen when people come together with a shared vision.
Over a decade ago, our eyes were opened to the fact that up to 40% of the 4.2 million youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ. So, in 2008, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Barbaris, Jonny Podell, and Gregory Lewis founded True Colors United (formerly the True Colors Fund) and went on a different kind of tour – visiting homeless shelters, community centers, and other service providers to learn all we could about the issue.
Communities and youth homelessness service providers want to be safe and welcoming for LGBTQ youth, but often don’t have the knowledge or resources to do so – creating barriers for these youth to get the support they need. True Colors United fills that space by offering free training and resources on how to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. We also advocate in government and media to help ensure critical funding and services for all youth, and create opportunities for youth who have experienced homelessness to be key leaders in the effort to end the problem.
Whether you know it or not, you’re a part of the solution, too. People often think that, because they don’t work at a service provider, they can’t make a difference. The reality is: Everyone can make a difference! LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness interact with more than just the folks working at shelters. They also go to coffee shops and libraries, ride public transportation, use the Internet… To put it simply: They live life! We all share the same world. Now what will you do to make it a better one?