Featured Media Resource: [VIDEO]: Focus on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness: Film Module | The Homestretch (PBS Learning Media)
This is a short film module adapted from The Homestretch, as seen on PBS’s Independent Lens, about youth homelessness, with a focus on LGBTQ youth. For more information about The Homestretch, visit the Independent Lens website.
If you were mayor, what program would you develop in your city to support homeless LGBTQ youth? #DoNowHomeless
How to Do Now
Do Now by posting your response on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Flickr, Google +, etc. Be sure to include #DoNowHomeless.
Learn More About LGBTQ Teens and Homelessness
According to Homeless Children America, 1 out of 30 young people is homeless. That’s a total of 2.5 million homeless youth in every city, county and state in this country. Of those, about 40% identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ). A survey conducted by the Williams Institute claims: “Family rejection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity was the most frequently cited factor contributing to LGBT homelessness,” among others.
When you don’t have a place to call home or a support structure, as teens from the film The Homestretch suggest, you must adapt and think about how to make it by yourself.
Imagine what experience would be like—to be homeless and have to adapt to making it on your own. You would need to find a shelter to sleep at if there’s room for you, or, find materials and a place to sleep in the street. You would need to locate a place to wash up, clean your clothes, go to the bathroom, and, have toiletries, clothing, water and access to food. Finding safety and trust is both a short and long term goal, while battling depression from feeling rejection is a daily occurrence.
Many LGBTQ teens wind up homeless, most often due to family rejection. Because of the lack of safety or support provided by most shelter systems to specifically serve this population, many will find themselves becoming homeless many times over. Most shelters are separated by sex, which creates a potentially dangerous environment for transgender youth. Often, LGBTQ teens must adapt from home to safe space, replace family with a supportive community or peers, and find acceptance and belonging in a new terrain.
There is a growing awareness of the need for specialized services and homes designed to support LGBTQ homeless youth in many cities. Specific examples would be Lyric in San Francisco, Casa Ruby in Washington, DC and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. These resources, however, are still scarce and the need is growing. Before Casa Ruby opened in 2012, it was estimated that there were over 100 LGBTQ homeless youth in Washington, DC on any given night, and only eight beds specifically for them.
After watching the short film module above from The Homestretch, think about how you would adapt if you were young, LGBTQ and homeless. What would you need? What kind of support would help the most? What services or resources are in your local community? What programs exist specifically targeted at homeless LGBTQ youth? What’s missing that these young people might need? Do some research to see what’s out there and share what you find.
AUDIO: Casa Ruby is a chosen family for trans people who need a home (Morning Edition, NPR)
This story is part of an occasional series about individuals who don’t have much money or power but do have a big impact on their communities. The story focuses on Ruby Corado, a 45-year-old transgender woman in Washington, D.C., who is now trying to help others along the difficult path by opening a special shelter for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.
VIDEO: Lyric (produced by Bay Area Video Coalition)
A look at Bay Area organization LYRIC’s mission to build community and inspire positive social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with LGBTQ youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities. Part of BAVC The Factory’s Summer 2013 Community Filmmaking Project.
VIDEO: Larkin Street Youth Services Agency Video
Larkin Street in San Francisco offers a wide range of services for homeless and at-risk youth, ages 12-24. From emergency and transitional housing to education and employment, to health and well-being, their programs are designed to get kids off the street for good. This video tells the stories of four of their clients, and how they’ve changed their lives and gotten on the path to self-sufficiency.
REPORT: Serving the Needs of Our Youth: The Needs and Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth Experiencing Homelessness (Williams Institute)
This report summarizes findings from the 2014 LGBTQ Homeless Youth Provider Survey, a survey of 138 homelessness human service agency providers conducted from March 2014 through June 2014 designed to better understand homelessness among LGBTQ youth.
LESSON PLAN: Homelessness: Using Technology and Social Media (The Graduates, Independent Lens, PBS)
In this youth action plan, students will investigate how homelessness can be an obstacle to success for some youth, and examine how technology and social media can be powerful tools for raising awareness and sharing information in a dynamic way. They will explore different websites and apps and how to maximize their usefulness.
Do Next takes the online conversation to the next level: these are suggestions for ways to go out into your community and investigate how the topic featured in this Do Now impacts people’s lives. Use digital storytelling tools and social media to share your story and take action. Make sure to tag your creations with #DoNowHomeless.
1) Create an Infographic: Using a free online infographic tool such as piktochart or easel.ly, create a data visualization that illustrates the issues faced by LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. Here is an example for inspiration: Preventing the Tragedy of LGBT Youth Homelessness.
2) Create a Resource Map: Using a free mapping tool like one of these featured in this blog post called “The 5 Best Free Map Creation Tools for Teachers,” create a map that lists all of the resources for homeless youth in your community.