LGBTQ2S youth are overrepresented among youth experiencing homelessness and experi- ence significantly higher rates of mental health issues compared to heterosexual and cis- gender youth. COVID-19 related challenges for LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness remain unknown. To address this gap, this study aimed to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on LGBTQ2S youth at risk of, and experiencing, home- lessness in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada and surrounding areas.
Utilizing a mixed-methods convergent parallel design, LGBTQ2S youth experiencing home- lessness were recruited to participate in virtual surveys and in-depth one-on-one interviews. Surveys included standardized measures and were administered to measure mental health outcomes and collect information on demographic characteristics, and health service use. Survey data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and statistical tests for difference of proportions. Interviews were analyzed using an iterative thematic content approach.
Sixty-one youth completed surveys and 20 youth participated in one-on-one interviews. Quantitative and qualitative data showed that youth have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in various ways, including experiencing poor mental health, such as suicidality, depression, anxiety, and increased substance use, and lack of access to health and social support services.