The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) is our nation’s only federal law that specifically funds vital services for youth experiencing homelessness, and it’s currently up for reauthorization. We’ve been working tirelessly to ensure that young people experiencing homelessness not only have access to critical services, but that those services are safe, welcoming, and tailored to meet the needs of all youth – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Unfortunately, some groups are actively lobbying to discriminate against the 40% of homeless youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). One of these groups, the Family Research Council, sent a letter to Congress saying:
“We do not believe there is evidence of a problem for individuals facing barriers to service under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, so the language is a solution in search of a problem. Worse, it will actually make it more difficult for longstanding providers to care for youth as the language provides no conscience protection for faith-based organizations whatsoever.”
This isn’t about stepping on religious freedoms. This isn’t about demonizing service providers who aren’t so inclusive or affirming. This is about protecting all youth. It’s about ensuring, without a shadow of a doubt, that programs and services receiving federal funding are inclusive of 100% of youth experiencing homelessness, not just 60%.
This opposition just further demonstrates that there is a problem in the way our country serves youth experiencing homelessness – that barriers do exist preventing homeless LGBT youth from access the services they need. That’s why we’re calling on you to stand with us, so that we can continue pushing for important legislation that protects all youth.
Enough is enough.