We're Helping States Make The Grade On Youth Homelessness.
At the state and local level, we collaborate with key stakeholders to educate and guide governor’s offices and state agencies to ensure that policies and systems are in place to end youth homelessness.
By building bipartisan coalitions, leveraging existing partnerships, and tapping into the wide knowledge base of the young people we work with every day in each state, we are successfully advocating for administrative change that impacts youth experiencing homelessness while standing as gatekeepers against those who promote harmful policies at the local level. Our first task with each state is to craft state-specific memos as a resource for state advocates around the unique issues facing youth experiencing homelessness (especially LGBTQ youth) and to provide policy recommendations on how to alleviate structural barriers to housing and supportive services.
The True Colors Fund is working to make it easier for youth experiencing homelessness to obtain accurate state-issued identification cards. For LGBTQ youth that have been displaced due to lack of support or unsafe family environments, many are left unable to access key medical and/or social safety net services. Obtaining a state ID can be particularly difficult for those who are transgender or gender-nonconforming and can lead to harassment, assault, or denial of an updated ID. With state-issued identification, young people can identify themselves when attempting to access services, making it easier for them to get the help they need.
We’re also committed to ending the criminalization of homelessness across the 50 states. Some laws, known as “status offense” laws apply only to minors and make it difficult for unhoused youth to live their daily lives. Some of these laws impose youth curfews and others classify running away from home as an offense. There are also public ordinances that prohibit panhandling, eating, sleeping, or even sitting in certain places and/or at certain times (e.g., sleeping on a public beach or being in a park after dusk), and are applicable to both adults and youth. We are working to shift the focus to providing help to youth, rather than penalizing them for experiencing homelessness.