Creating the Blueprint to Reduce LGBTQ Youth Homelessness.
3/40 Blueprint was initiated to identify challenges and goals, and help transitional living programs develop solutions better aligned with LGBTQ youths’ unique needs. Research results, executive summaries, and infographics have been provided here to help guide service provision for this vulnerable population.
3/40 Blueprint was a collaborative effort between Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Houston, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. These entities partnered due to their longstanding commitments to social justice, including efforts to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth and runaway and homeless youth.
3/40 Blueprint was created to respond to the needs LGBTQ youth and runaway and homeless youth by developing a blueprint over the 3 years of this project that can reduce the 40% of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ (the 3/40 BLUEPRINT). The outcomes from this project should help build the capacity of Transitional Living Programs to serve LGBTQ homeless youth and strengthen their efforts to better understand and address the needs of this population. We have focused on identifying the needs of LGBTQ homeless youth and the strategies that respond to those needs to facilitate successful transitions to adulthood. Project findings, executive summaries, and infographics have been provided here to help guide service provision for this vulnerable population.
Identifying challenges and goals.
Among the 1.6 million or more homeless youth in the US, up to 40% identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning.1,2 Homeless LGBTQ youth are more likely to face depression, substance abuse, high-risk sexual behavior, mental health issues, and suicide attempts than their non-LGBTQ peers.3,4
Practices have begun to emerge that show promise in responding to the needs of LGBTQ homeless youth. However, information about those practices has not been systematically collected or analyzed, and no unifying practice models have emerged as a result of those responses. To facilitate positive outcomes for LGBTQ homeless youth, more information is needed about those emerging practices, as well as about appropriate screening and assessment tools, and policies and programs that can facilitate LGBTQ homeless youth feeling “safe, respected, and affirmed”. This project helps to begin closing that gap.
Knowledge and gaps.
Explore the results of a systematic review of studies since 1990, as well as focus groups conducted as part of this project.
Solutions that work.
Findings from focus groups with youth and providers have been distilled into actionable summaries for transitional living programs.
Visualizing the data.
Share these graphics to enhance understanding of LGBTQ youths’ unique needs, and to help create safer, more affirming environments.
Strategies for Services that Meet the Needs of Runaway and Homeless (RHY) LGBTQ Youth
Collecting Data Related to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) from Youth in Transitional Living Programs (TLPs)
Intake, Screening, and Assessment Tools for Working with Runaway and Homeless (RHY) LGBTQ Youth
Creating a Safe, Affirming Environment for LGBTQ Youth in Transitional Living Programs (TLPs)
Assessing the Needs of Transgender and Gender Expansive (TGE) Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY): Supplemental Report on Recommended Responses and Strategies for Providing Affirming and Supportive Services
Researchers and Consultants
Meet the team.
3/40 Blueprint was funded as a collaborative agreement between the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Family and Youth Services Bureau of the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families.
- Anjali Fulambarker, PhD Research Assistant
- Jesse Holzman, MA Research Assistant
- Aissetu Ibrahima, PhD Research Assistant
- Emalee Pearson, MSW, MPH Research Assistant
- Andrew Repp, MSW Research Assistant
In addition, a Technical Expert Group provided ongoing consultation and input throughout the project. The group was comprised of national LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth experts, including service providers, youth, advocates, and researchers. Members include:
340 Blueprint Program Officer
Youth Services Program Specialist
Runaway and Homeless Youth Program
Division of Adolescent Development and Support
Family and Youth Services Bureau
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Recommended Next Steps:
- We recommend advocating to public funders to reduce duplicative data collection wherever possible. This goal can be accomplished by ensuring data collection tools have common categories for capturing information.
- We recommend that funders require staff be trained so they, and the overall program, meet minimum (but high quality) standards related to being competent related to issues experienced by LGBTQ youth. This requirement will increase the likelihood of providing LGBTQ youth who are being served with a safe and affirming space.
- We recommend research continue to be conducted about LGBTQ youth who are homeless, especially those who reside in suburban and rural areas. Their experiences, the full scope, should be explored and viewed as a dynamic experience.
- We recommend further research be conducted, specifically about the needs of transgender and gender expansive (TGE) youth who reside in rural areas, small cities, and mid-sized cities. Due to a lack of resources in those areas, TGE youth are often not able to access the resources that larger cities across the country can provide. Understanding their needs and identifying strategies to meet them will help to fill that gap.
3. Technical Assistance
- We recommend developing an assessment tool for organizations to use when providing services to LGBTQ youth. They should:
- guide organizations through the evaluation of their current practices
- help organizations identify areas for growth related to service provision
- lead to recommended actions in key areas where the agency may need improvement
- We recommend ensuring adequate training is made available to new and current transitional living programs (TLPs) as a means to support their need to gain competency in serving LGBTQ young people. At minimum, trainings should include:
- how to ask LGBTQ youth about their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE), including during data collection
- creating safe and affirming space for LGBTQ youth
- the best practices and policies to use when providing services to transgender and gender expansive (TGE) youth.
- We recommend providing staff with the education and supports needed to appropriately respond to challenges that may arise during peer interactions, such as youth feeling unsafe. Being pro-active will increase positive outcomes for LGBTQ youth.
- We recommend TLPs review the numerous documents resulting from this project and integrate the recommendations made into their existing TLP programming.
- We recommend funders work together to ensure data collection tools have common categories for capturing information. This will reduce agencies having to duplicate information, provide consistency when collecting data, and may reduce the time needed to complete intake and assessment.
- We recommend federal and state funders explore ways to unify the language and questions used on their required forms. This approach will support front-line staff in their efforts to better document their clients' SOGIE.
- We recommend federal funding be made available to smaller agencies so they can create LGBTQ specific programs in areas where regional or local grants may not be available or cannot be used to fund LGBTQ specific programs.
- We recommend as part of their Requests for Proposals, funders prioritize providing funding to organizations who align with the recommendations identified from this project, such as creating a safe, affirming, and supportive environment for LGBTQ youth.
Disclaimer: Please note, the persons depicted on this website are models and the images have been used solely for illustrative purposes.
This website was made possible by Grant Number 90CX7053 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families to the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Its contents reflect the views and input of the study participants and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
1 Toro, P. A., Dworsky, A., & Fowler, P. J. (2007). Homeless youth in the United States: Recent research findings and intervention approaches. Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
2 Ray, N. (2006). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness. New York, NY: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
3 Van Leeuwen, J., Boyle, S., Sautel, S., Baker, D., Garcia, J., Hoffman, A., & Hopfer, C. (2006). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual homeless youth: An eight-city public health perspective. Child Welfare, 85, 151-170.
4 Ryan, C., Huebner, D., Diaz, R., & Sanchez, J. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino LGB young adults. Pediatrics, 123, 346-352.