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October 2022Vol. 23, No. 8Homelessness and Housing Instability Among LGBTQ Youth

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning (LGBTQ) youth are overrepresented among young people experiencing homeless and housing instability. These housing issues in turn increase LGBTQ youth's risk of mental health and other challenges compared with their LGBTQ peers who have stable housing. The Trevor Project published a report, Homeless and Housing Instability Among LGBTQ Youth, which explores the complex connection between LGBTQ youth, homelessness, and mental health challenges. It also details the challenges of collecting data on the housing status of LGBTQ youth as well as the impact of COVID-19.

Data were collected through an online survey that targeted youth on social media. Questions measured the rate of housing instability, related mental health outcomes, and other factors associated with housing instability. The data showed that 28 percent of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing homelessness or housing instability, with much higher rates (44 percent) for Native/Indigenous LGBTQ youth. Additionally, 28 percent of LGBTQ youth who experienced housing instability and 35 percent of LGBTQ youth who were currently experiencing homelessness reported a suicide attempt in the past year compared with 10 percent of youth who had not experienced housing instability.

The report also provided recommendations for preventing and addressing LGBTQ youth homelessness based on the survey data and perspectives from housing advocates. Potential areas of improvement include the following:

  • Implementing strong antidiscrimination policies to prevent LGBTQ youth homelessness
  • Increasing funding for low-barrier housing programs
  • Reimagining shelter services
  • Improving data collection on LGBTQ youth homelessness
  • Creating antipoverty economic policies to lessen economic burdens of low-income families

The full data and recommendations are available in the report.