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State Highlights

Some areas where New York has moved the needle relative to other states include having a state RHYA, decriminalizing youth homelessness, granting homeless youth contract rights, and promoting safety and inclusion by providing protections for LGBTQ youth within key state programs.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • The state has RHY statutes similar to the federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) that provides funding for emergency services and other supports to prevent and end youth homelessness. 
  • State law provides youth experiencing homelessness some contract rights.
  • The state allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage on their own.

Systems

Systems

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness that contains a youth-specific and LGBTQ youth-specific strategy component. 
  • There is a state entity that focuses solely on designing, implementing, and evaluating youth homelessness programs.
  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.

Environment

Environment

  • The state has banned conversion therapy for minors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.  
  • The state promotes safe and inclusive environments in child welfare, juvenile justice, and runaway and homeless youth programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 
  • The state maintains a community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy.

 

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Empire State, with emphasis on the Environment category. Requiring training about the needs of LGBTQ youth for staff working in runaway and homeless youth systems should be prioritized.

Law and Policy

Law & Policy

  • Implement a grievance process for students experiencing homelessness that complies with federal law. 
  • Reduce opportunities for contact between youth experiencing homelessness and the criminal and juvenile justice systems by declassifying running away as a status or delinquent offense.
  • Enact law or regulation to ensure that students experiencing homelessness can earn partial or alternative school credit.

Systems

Systems

  • As part of the state plan to prevent and end youth homelessness, include a strategy to address homelessness among LGBTQ youth.

Environment

Environment

  • Require training about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, healthy sexual development, or issues specific to LGBTQ youth for staff working in runaway and homeless youth systems.

 

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