During LGBTQ+ Pride Month it’s important not just to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, but also to recognize the struggles the community faces.
In the U.S., LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience homelessness than the general population. Studies suggest that LGBTQ+ people make up 20-40% of the population experiencing homelessness in the U.S., though they only make up 5-10% of the total U.S. population.
This is a problem nationwide. In Minnesota, people in the LGBTQ+ community are similarly overrepresented in Minnesota homeless shelters. LGBTQ+ people are estimated to make up roughly 11% of the population of people experiencing homelessness in the state. However, only 4% of Minnesotans identify as LGBTQ+.
LGBTQ+ Youth are Specifically at Risk
Nationwide, it’s estimated that up to 40% of youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ+, though only 10% of youth nationwide identify as LGBTQ+. This means that they are overrepresented in the homeless youth population. LGBTQ+ youth ages 18-25 have a two-times greater risk of homelessness than their straight or cisgender peers.
In Minnesota specifically, around 23% of youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ+. For adults between the ages of 25 and 54, that percentage drops to 9%. This suggests that homelessness is particularly prevalent in young members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Needless to say, the experience of being homeless is devastating for youth in a variety of ways. It can harm both their physical and mental health, and it puts them at a higher risk for trauma, substance use, and discrimination. It can also shorten their life expectancy and add barriers to their career development.
Why Are LGBTQ+ People More Likely to Experience Homelessness?
The most prevalent reason LGBTQ+ youth experience homelessness is because they are forced out of their homes or run away due to family rejection. 67% of transgender youth experiencing homelessness and 55% of LGBQ youth experiencing homelessness cited this as the primary cause for their situation.
Other less common primary reasons for experiencing homelessness were experiencing abuse, aging out of foster care, family poverty, and neglect.
Though family rejection and forced homelessness is the number one reason for LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, it’s often a combination of factors that leads to youth ending up on the streets. The vast majority LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness have experienced bullying, harassment, rejection, and mental health issues.
How Guild is Helping
At Guild, we stand with the LGBTQ+ community. We believe all people are deserving of a safe and accepting place to live and are working to address homelessness in more areas of the metro including Anoka County. We have ongoing partnerships with counties, hospitals, landlords, social service organizations, and communities—a robust network working together to help you find safety and stability in your everyday life. If you or a loved one are experiencing homelessness, Coordinated Entry is the place to start. Coordinated Entry works hard to connect you to the resources you need to find a place to call home.
By supporting Guild’s mission, you can help members of the LGBTQ+ community get the assistance that is needed to live full, impactful lives in communities of their choosing. Donate Today!
There are many issues that are important to ending LGBTQ+ homelessness, and specifically LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, including:
LGBTQ+-specific shelters. Being able to stay somewhere where your identity is affirmed, and you won’t be put at risk because of it, is important. Many areas are lacking enough LGBTQ+ homeless shelters to meet the current demand. The COVID-19 pandemic has also put particular stress on LGBTQ+ homeless youth due to fears of LGBTQ+-specific shelters being shut down or reduced capacity due to COVID.
Housing services. Helping LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness find a place to live is crucial. Early intervention–getting them housing and other necessary resources quickly–is important.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a list of resources for LGBTQ+ individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Find it here.