Among the estimated 4.2 million youth and young adults who experience homelessness each year, young people who identify as LGBTQ+ experience homelessness at disproportionate rates. America is facing a widespread lack of accessible resources to address the specific needs of LGBTQ+ youth who are living without housing. Here are a few community resources that could help reduce homelessness for this population:
The Presence of Community Support and Mentorship
One resource that could help to reduce the rates of homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth and young adults is the presence of community support. Non-profits, schools, clinics, libraries, and local businesses should be provided with the means to offer safe space and trustworthy referrals to LGBTQ youth in need. Many young people are not equipped with the tools to take care of themselves while experiencing homelessness, and don't know where to find community support. With government funded community resources and non-profit organizations in place, we can reduce youth homelessness throughout the country.
Accessible and Affordable Healthcare Services
Homelessness can be a devastating experience, causing negative impacts on a young person's mental and physical health. Access to affordable healthcare services could help to reduce youth homelessness by addressing untreated health issues that may be a factor in prolonging the experience of homelessness. Although many jobs offer health insurance, many young people are unaware that it is also an option to receive health insurance through the state if you are eligible to qualify. Healthcare is essential to maintaining a healthy life. By making specialized healthcare options available to LGBTQ+ youth and young adults, communities around the country could help them learn to take care of themselves and live independently.
Educational Housing Programs
Youth and young adults in the LGBTQ+ community may experience homelessness for various reasons. Whether they have aged out of foster care, run away from home, or had to evacuate their living arrangements due to family conflicts, they deserve the chance to live healthy and productive lives. A stronger presence of street outreach, transitional living programs, and other emergency housing programs can help to reduce youth homelessness by providing safe space and teaching self-sufficiency. Many community shelters and transitional facilities offer career-readiness trainings to prepare residents for job opportunities. With valuable community partnerships in place, every housing program in the country could have employment opportunities arranged for the young people who reside in their spaces. Establishing a sense of self-sufficiency is one of the first steps toward successful independent adulthood.
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