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Sunday, 27th June 2010

CAP Report Addresses Homeless Gay and Transgender Youth

CAP Report Addresses Homeless Gay and Transgender Youth
Source: Center for American Progress

Gay and transgender homeless youth make up an estimated 20 percent of all homeless youth in the United States, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress. Tomorrow, the Obama administration will release their strategy to prevent and end homelessness. CAPís new report, "On the Streets: The Federal Response to Gay and Transgender Homeless Youth" calls for a comprehensive approach to meet the needs of these youth.

Families and parents too often reject gay and transgender young people as they come out at earlier ages. This can lead to a chain reaction of events that sends them cascading through social safety nets that are not equipped to support them. From schools and child welfare systems to juvenile justice facilities and homeless shelters, stigma and institutional discrimination lead gay and transgender youth to a harsher life on the streets than other homeless youth. They are more likely to drop out of school, to attempt suicide, and to experience sexual exploitation.

The federal government can and should do more to respond to this problem. Of the approximately $4.2 billion the government spends annually on homeless assistance programs, less than 5 percent of this funding, $195 million, is allocated for homeless children and youth. Even less goes to serve unaccompanied homeless youth.

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