The True Colors Fund and Covenant House International are proud to announce that the True Inclusion Assessment to increase lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) inclusion has been completed throughout Covenant House’s 16 U.S.-based sites.
Covenant House International is the largest network of shelters for youth experiencing homelessness across North and Central America, sheltering more than 1,900 young people every night in 30 cities across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. To ensure safer, more inclusive, and affirming care for the disproportionate number of LGBTQ young people seeking shelter services at their sites, Covenant House partnered with the True Colors Fund in 2014. “This is not complicated,” said Kevin Ryan, Covenant House President and CEO, “We are called to love all homeless young people unconditionally and with absolute respect.”
In order to support and strengthen the programs and services available for the LGBTQ youth served by Covenant House, the True Colors Fund guided each location through the True Inclusion Assessment – a tailored three-step survey of administrators, direct service staff, and program participants. Throughout the partnership, nearly 1200 surveys were completed by Covenant House staff and participants. After analyzing survey results to identify policies, practices, and areas for growth and improvement, the True Colors Fund generated individual reports and recommendations for each site.
“Even though we are educating staff, and think they are on same page, they may not be,” said Renee Trincanello, Associate Executive Director at Covenant House Florida. “It’s important for me to see where staff really are, and how we can make [the services and environment] more supportive and welcoming for youth.”
The True Colors Fund has developed an “Intentional Space Toolkit” based on the areas for growth most frequently identified by the assessment. This toolkit highlights concrete steps for making organizations affirming and inclusive of LGBTQ young people, and can be used by any youth-serving provider. Check out the Intentional Space Toolkit in the 40 to None Network.
Ready for a deeper dive?
Check out this 40 to None Network Live broadcast for a conversation between Covenant House leaders and the True Colors Fund about our results.