Story by Tom Caiazza
Washington, D.C. — Youth homelessness in America is nearing epidemic levels, and the problem among the transgender community is disproportionately acute. At least one in five transgender young people have experienced homelessness, and many of them have encountered discrimination, harassment, and abuse in shelters and other services meant to serve as safe spaces when there is nowhere else to go.
The Center for American Progress issued a report yesterday that outlines the unique difficulties that homeless transgender young people face, including housing, employment, and education discrimination; inadequate health and social services; and family rejection that can trap youth in a cycle of homelessness. The report also analyzes state, local, and federal policies that are inadequately serving transgender homeless youth and makes recommendations for improvements.
“Transgender young people who are homeless face significant challenges to their health, safety, and well-being—and these disparities often begin before they leave home,” said Hannah Hussey, Research Associate for LGBT Progress at CAP and author of the report. “In order for these young people to reach their full potential, we need a comprehensive approach that provides equal and adequate access to services and that addresses the systemic problems of poverty, violence, and discrimination that cause housing instability in the first place.”
The report makes the following recommendations:
- Provide the resources needed for homeless and at-risk transgender youth to stabilize their lives, including shelters and transitional living programs, skill-building opportunities, health promotion programs, and family intervention services.
- Implement strong nondiscrimination policies and eliminate barriers to services in shelters, health care, vital records, and law enforcement.
- Address the root causes of homelessness through changes to the interlocking systems that hold transgender youth back from reaching their full potential, including housing, employment, education, public accommodations, juvenile justice, and foster care.
- Expand data-collection efforts to include gender identity in respectful and confidential ways.
Click here to read the full report.
Editor’s Note: “This article was originally published by the Center for American Progress“