Yesterday the White House Media Office issued a special report on homeless LGBT youth. The report was created by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and spotlights the work being done by NYC's Ali Forney Center as well as the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit.
The Ali Forney Center comments via press release:
This follows upon recent events over the past eight months which demonstrate unprecedented federal attentiveness and responsiveness to the needs of homeless LGBTQ youth. In June of 2010 the Obama Administration released its Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, which included homeless LGBTQ youth as a priority population. In October of 2010 the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center was awarded a $13.3 Million five year grant to support foster care programs for LGBTQ youth and the Ali Forney Center was awarded a combined $2.4 Million by three federal agencies over five years to support it's programs for homeless LGBTQ youth.Read the White House report. An excerpt:
"I am deeply grateful to have a presidential administration that recognizes the terrible suffering of thousands of LGBTQ youth who have been cast out by their families to the streets of our nation." says Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center. "Prior to this year it was almost impossible for organizations dedicated to homeless LGBT youth to receive federal support, and we are thrilled to see that the Obama Administration is willing to support the work of protecting our most hurt and vulnerable youth".
Like many homeless youth, LGBTQ youth either runaway or are forced out of the home due to severe family conflict, abuse, neglect, mental health or physical disabilities. They are more at risk once they are homeless for sexual abuse and exploitation. There is a high incidence of depression, suicide initiations, and other mental health disorders among all youth experiencing homelessness, and chronic physical health conditions are common as are high rates of substance abuse disorders. Yet, in spite of all this, if you’ve ever had the opportunity to hang out with LGBTQ youth in a drop in center or elsewhere, you know they are energetic, funny, thoughtful teenagers who have the same hopes and dreams as their peers.