Task Force: Homelessness is a ‘critical issue for the LGBT community’

(Friday, June 25, 2010)

The White House released a plan this week aimed at ending homelessness in the U.S. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness calls for solutions like affordable housing, education programs and better access to gainful employment as strategies to counter the problem. It also references the challenges faced by the LGBT community, including our youth.

Preliminary findings of the Task Force’s forthcoming National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a joint project with the National Center for Transgender Equality, find that nearly one in five transgender people have experienced homelessness. Among those who have accessed or attempted to access homeless shelters, one quarter reported being denied admission because of their gender identity.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey, whose comments about the government’s new plan are included in this Washington Blade story, said:

Homelessness is a critical issue for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. For far too long, too many of our young people have been kicked out of their homes, forced to live on the streets, for simply being who they are. This has been a national disgrace of epidemic proportions. Indeed, our Task Force report found that LGBT young people make up a disproportionate number of runaway and homeless youth — as many as 40 percent. LGBT adults are also vulnerable to homelessness because of a widespread lack of nondiscrimination protections. Our country can do better, and its leadership has an obligation to ensure that all people — including LGBT youth and adults — are not left without fundamentals such as food, safety and a roof over one’s head. While we are pleased to see that LGBT people are being considered in a strategy to confront homelessness, real progress will occur when such inclusive strategies are actually implemented.

The Task Force has a long history of working on homelessness issues, including the research and release of two groundbreaking reports, Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness and Transitioning our Shelters: A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People.