LGBTQ History Month – Ending Youth Homelessness

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How can we support our LGBTQ homeless youth? Neighborhood Place of Puna supports family strengthening and building resilience for Hawai’i families. Since our founding we have been committed to ending family and youth homelessness in Hawai’i.

February is LGBTQ history month. This month we are highlighting the issue of LGBTQ youth homelessness. LGBTQ youth are more than twice as likely to experience homelessness than other children, most often due to familial rejection.

The Williams Institute UCLA School of Law reported that 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. The number one cause of homelessness for this population is being abused or  kicked out of the home for coming out as LGBTQ. This is despite the fact that research has shown sexual and gender orientation is not a choice but a regularly occurring genetic phenomena.

Unfortunately, many families still kick out their children for coming out as LGBTQ, because of widespread cultural homophobia. At times this can be due to a religious conviction. Many diverse religious views may be catching up to the science of why we must accept LGBTQ as normalized in society. Check out these religious and secular resources if you are a parent struggling with the idea of your child coming out.

These resources encourage care-givers to love their children above all. Do not contribute to the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness by rejecting your child. Review these articles for further guidance and information in supporting your child.

Sadly, although there is no religious or scientific basis for familial rejection the issue still remains very common. Some forms of discrimination and abuse exist within federal policies that allow funding to be used on “conversion therapy” programs. (Conversion therapy is a highly dangerous, scientifically disproven process that has contributed to disproportionate LGBTQ youth suicide.)

According to Wikipedia “There are currently no federal programs or policies designed to specifically meet the needs of or protect LGBT Homeless youth in the United States” and “there are currently no mandates that these funds be provided to shelters that do not discriminate against LGBTQ youth, meaning some federal funding is provided towards organizations with explicitly anti-gay or anti-transgender stances, which can lead to denial of care or the sending of youth to sexual orientation conversion therapy.”

Thankfully, Hawaii is now the 12th state to protect LGBTQ youth from this form of discrimination.

The reality is gender and orientation fluidity exists naturally, but society’s discrimination against LGBTQ people still persists due to outmoded assumptions– and this lack of accptance is contributing to youth homelessness, early deaths, assault, and trafficking of displaced youth. Homelessness is an epidemic in Hawai’i and children need loving, accepting families to thrive. In celebration of LGBTQ history month, check out this inspiring video on youth pride:

Neighborhood Place of Puna is committed to ending family, youth, and ultimately all homelessness in Hawaii county. Our current program addressing family homelessness is Hale ‘Iki shelter for families. We also provide in-home voluntary Family Strengthening services for families in need of additional support. If you are a family with minor children struggling with homelessness or in need of Family Strengthening services please contact Neighborhood Place of Puna today at 965-5550.

Are you an unattended child or youth in need of shelter?

HOPE Services, Child & Family Services, Catholic Charities & Salvation Army (especially ages 17-26) may be able to assist you with supportive housing.