Josh Cogan, the founder of Outlast Youth, said his organization issued a new 16-page report on LGBT youth experiencing homelessness that went out to Dallas city and county elected officials. They’ve also reached out to every city council that represents more than 10,000 residents in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties as well as school board trustees in DFW.
Homeless youth have a variety of challenges including higher rates of substance abuse, maltreatment, involvement with the criminal justice system, mental health challenges and more.
LGBT youth have a 120 percent higher risk of homelessness.
Among foster care youth experiencing homelessness, 9 percent identify as transgender compared to only 2 percent of all homeless youth. One reason is foster agencies are allowed to discriminate against trans youth based on their religious beliefs.
LGBT youth experienced physical and/or sexual violence at a rate of 2.5 times higher than their peers, since coming to experience homelessness, according to the report.
Included in the report is an LGBT inclusion checklist for agencies serving homeless youth.
Most homeless LGBT youth won’t access existing shelters because they don’t feel safe because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Outlast Youth is recommending Dallas establish an emergency shelter specifically for 18-24 year olds using “$3M in funds from the City of Dallas’ 2017 Homeless Bond Package to purchase and restore a vacant city-owned building.”
The full report can be found here.
— David Taffet