We’ve been working within government to help ensure that no young person is homeless as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and if they do become homeless, that the programs meant to help them are safe, inclusive, and affirming.
Our biggest legislative priority in Washington, D.C. has been the reauthorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which funds and regulates runaway and homeless youth services, including street outreach programs, basic center programs, and transitional living programs. Unfortunately, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young people sometimes face discrimination when attempting to access these services. That’s why we’re working to ensure that there’s a strong nondiscrimination policy in place that protects all youth, but especially LGBT youth.
Our relationships in Washington, D.C. have led to collaborations including the LGBT Rural Summit Series, in partnership with the USDA, and the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative, led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in collaboration with the Department of Education, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.
We’ve also been fostering strong national partnerships. In collaboration with the National Network for Youth, we’ve launched the National Coalition for Homeless Youth, which is the very first coalition that’s focused on federal policy to address youth homelessness.
State and Local
We’re all in it together! While most of our advocacy efforts are focused nationally, we also support state and local advocacy efforts to holistically address LGBT youth homelessness.
The True Colors Fund has supported advocacy organizations in Washington, D.C. in drafting a comprehensive LGBTQ youth homelessness bill. The LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Reform Act of 2013 includes amendments to ensure that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in youth and young adult data collection efforts. It also designates resources, services, and staff cultural competency training specific to the LGBTQ homeless youth community.