February 7, 2014
HIV & Youth Homelessness: Housing as Health Care

Homeless youth are particularly vulnerable to contracting HIV. Confronted with immediate needs and few resources at their disposal, young people are often dependent on survival strategies that place them at increased risk such as substance abuse and survival sex – trading sex for food, money, or a place to sleep. Without access to health care, these youth are often unaware of their HIV status or unable to adhere to drug treatment plans.

In honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the California Homeless Youth Project would like to announce the release of our latest issue brief, HIV & Youth Homelessness: Housing as Health Care. This brief highlights ways in which addressing housing instability could decrease HIV infection rates among homeless youth by providing an environment to address health care needs, improve mental and physical health, and decrease engagement in HIV-risk behaviors.


(Photo courtesy of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

Currently, California ranks second in the nation in cumulative AIDS cases. Sixty percent of all persons living with HIV/AIDS report homelessness or housing instability at some point throughout the course of their lives. This lack of housing and health care access has been linked with poverty, inequality, and HIV infection among homeless youth and other marginalized populations.

Project Director Shahera Hyatt had this to say about the findings in the brief, “Though HIV rates have remained relatively stable over the last five years, certain populations are at increased risk – particularly youth of color and gay and transgender youth, all of whom are more likely to experience homelessness than their white or heterosexual peers. This is an issue that requires an urgent, wholistic response from policymakers at all levels.”

Among other things, this brief recommends moving beyond individual-level HIV prevention strategies to structural and environmental interventions, including legal reforms, that facilitate HIV prevention in a way that addresses economic disparities and housing instability among youth.

May 21, 2012
Best practice for LGBT youth and families

A newly recognized best practice called Supportive Families, Healthy Children, which educates families on how accepting their LGBT child can have a positive impact in their child’s health. The Family Acceptance Project has found that youth who are accepted by their family are at a lower risk of suicidal thoughts, depression, HIV, drug use, and other health risks. This booklet can be used to help LGBT youth and families build stronger relationships in schools, through crisis response services, mental health settings, and youth shelters. It is culturally sensitive, is printed in multiple languages and takes into consideration religiously conservative families. LGBT youth face many challenges in “coming out” and with this new tool service providers and families can help LGBT youth feel supported, know that they are not alone, and that challenging experiences can get better.

May 16, 2012
Including LGBT homeless youth in the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act

The Center for American Progress recently released an article discussing the importance of inclusion for LGBT homeless youth in the upcoming revision of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act in 2013. This is an important revision for the Act as LGBT homeless youth are overrepresented among homeless youth. This piece of legislation is a major vehicle in providing funding for homeless youth in three different areas, including street outreach, basic center programs, and transitional living programs. There are four suggestions provided for congress to include LGBT homeless youth in the reauthorization of the Act in 2013, 1) adopt a general statement of nondiscrimination for the RHYA that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, 2) require RHYA grant applicants to include LGBT youth in planning documents that are needed to qualify for the grant, 3) establish programs to help alleviate family crisis for better acceptance of youth when coming out, and 4) require HHS to include information regarding LGBT youth in reports to congress.

April 25, 2012
NAEH Releases LGBTQ Youth Policy Statement

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) homeless youth face particular challenges on the streets due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The National Alliance to End Homelessness discusses these issues in their latest brief, LGBTQ Youth Policy Statement, and suggests policy solutions for addressing these challenges, which include: 

-promoting a culturally competent approach to service delivery

-ensuring nondiscriminatory access to housing resources

-supporting family intervention that addresses conflict over sexual orientation and gender identity

-promoting supportive services models that take into account the needs and experiences of LGBTQ youth

-including LGBTQ youth in data collection

The HYP’s issue brief, Struggling to survive: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning homeless youth on the streets of California, also addresses LGBT homeless youth and the challenges they face. NAEH’s action steps are consistent with what we heard from service providers. Follow the link below to read the full HYP issue brief.



March 28, 2012
HUD’s new LGBT housing rule

Earlier this month, HUD published a final rule in the Federal Register entitled Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity. The rule creates a new regulatory provision that generally prohibits considering a person’s marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity (a person’s internal sense of being male or female) in making housing assistance available. Now lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are guaranteed equal access to all housing and shelters.  
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said, “HUD is working to ensure that our housing programs are open to all” and that the rule states “clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have a right to live where they chose.”

Access to the final rule document and webinar can be found on HUD’s page at: www.hud.gov/lgbthousingdiscrimination. Or you can watch the webinar through youtube at: http://,youtube.com/watch?v=lKcMIyQZzaO&feature=colike


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Filed under: lgbt housing rule HUD 
March 27, 2012
New shelter for LGBT homeless youth in Chicago

March marked the opening of a new homeless shelter in Chicago, Il. Vida/SIDA opened the doors of El Rescate on March 3rd. El Rescate is a homeless shelter aimed at providing services for LGBT and HIV + youth, ages 18-24. El Rescate was designed to be a transitional housing facility and an independent living program. Please click on the link below to read more.



March 12, 2012
HUD Secretary Discusses Trans Issues at White House Conference

See the full text of his remarks above.

December 28, 2011
Homeless for the Holidays

If you haven’t already seen this beautiful photo essay featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender homeless youths on the streets of New York, you must check it out. It’s a brilliant piece produced by the Ali Forney Center, a housing shelter for LGBT youth, to raise awareness of what it means for these young people to be “homeless for the holidays.”

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Filed under: homeless youth lgbt 
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