Over the years the Alliance has taken notice of the overrepresentation of LGBTQ youths in the homeless population. In response, the Alliance has convened an advisory committee to address the lack of national policy solutions to this important problem. Deemed the National Advisory Council on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness (NAC), this group of advocates meets annually to discuss best practices and suggest a national policy agenda to end LGBTQ youth homelessness. The Advisory Council’s diverse members are comprised of homeless youth providers and representatives from LGBTQ-specific organizations.
On Tuesday, July 12 (one day before the National Conference on Ending Homelessness) the NAC will meet again. This meeting will include discussion on what is being done at federal, state, and local levels to end LGBTQ youth homelessness what still needs to be done. Additionally, the meeting will include special guests:
- Commissioner Bryan Samuels from the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (HHS) ,
- Jennifer Ho, the Deputy Director of the U.S. Interagency on Homelessness, and
- Megan Thompson from the Office of Senator John Kerry (D-MA)
Within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) youth population, homelessness has long been an epidemic; only recently, however, has the issue begun to receive the level of national attention that it deserves. Of the estimated 1.6 million homeless youths today, an estimated 20 – 40 percent self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. This is quite disproportionate to the percentage of youth overall who identify as LGBT, which is estimated somewhere between 4 -10 percent. Therefore, though an abundance of research is lacking, youth providers and LGBT activists now see an imperative to address this widespread issue.
The Alliance and members of the NAC representing organizations such as Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and National Network for Youth, published The National Recommendation for Best Practices for LGBT Homeless Youth guide for service providers. Members of the NAC have met with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to advocate for policy changes and greater resources for LGBTQ homeless youth. The Alliance hopes to continue this progress at the upcoming meeting and prompt further developments in this field.