5. The Youth Homelessness Crisis and a Path to End It: Interventions to Better Serve LGBTQ2S Youth Experiencing Homelessness

An estimated 1.3 to 1.7 million youth experience one night of homelessness each year in the United States, with 550,000 youth experiencing homelessness for a week or longer.  An estimated 18% to 43% of these youth identify as LGBTQ2S. Traditionally, shelters and other programs serving people experiencing homelessness have focused on emergency assistance and are often not optimally suited to address the specific upstream causes, challenges and consequences of homelessness among LGBTQ2S youth, particularly those of colour. Several interventions have strong initial support for their expanded use to address this crisis: expanded mental health services focused on family– and kin-strengthening, shelter diversion using short-term host homes, and rapid rehousing. A pilot program, Point Source Youth, was launched in Minneapolis, MN in 2016, with three existing service providers (Avenues for Homeless Youth, The Link, and Reclaim), which had well-established programs that could be leveraged for interventions. Through this work, Point Source Youth learned and demonstrated how local service organizations, funders and the community can come together to expand interventions and increase local capacity to address LGBTQ2S youth homelessness. The pilot model is a promising combination of interventions that can be expanded nationally to other cities.  In 2017, Point Source Youth will be rolled out in New York, NY, Baltimore, MD, San Jose, CA, and other American cities. Additional results will be compiled and published, reflecting the continued lessons learned and the effects of the interventions. 

Alex Abramovich
Jama Shelton
Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness