Reconnecting At-Risk and Homeless LGBTQ Youth with Family


Best Practice | November 15, 2011

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Below is an excerpt of this issue brief. To access the full brief, please download the publication using the link above.

Reconnecting At-Risk and Homeless LGBTQ Youth with Family
New York City, New York

New York City is working to prevent and end homelessness for LGBTQ homeless youth. Recognizing that most runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth will return to their family, New York City is funding two community-based organizations to strengthen youth’s connections to families to prevent and rapidly end their homelessness.

The New York City Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Runaway and Homeless Youth was formed in October 2009 to create a comprehensive and actionable plan to end homelessness among LGBTQ youth by:

  • Devising strategies to prevent LGBTQ youth from leaving home;
  • Providing LGBTQ homeless youth with responsive and welcoming shelter and supportive services to help them live independently; and
  • Helping, when appropriate, to reunite LGBTQ youth with their families.

Mayor Bloomberg formed the Commission through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The Commission – the first of its kind formed by a municipality – is comprised of 24 civic leaders from a diverse group of organizations that specialize in LGBTQ youth homelessness. The Commission is managed by the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and includes a broad array of stakeholders, including representatives from the police department, housing agencies, community leaders, and runaway and homeless youth providers. Though the Commission is managed by DYCD, it is largely driven by civic leaders with expertise in LGBTQ youth homelessness.

The Commission produced a report entitled, All Our Children: Strategies to Prevent Homelessness, Strengthen Services, and Build Support for LGBTQ Youth, released in June 2010. The report identifies 10 actionable strategies that New York City can implement to improve services to LGBTQ homeless youth. The recommendations issued by the Commission were informed by testimony from homeless youth and families, service providers, LGBTQ youth advocates, and representatives from different city agencies. The Commission developed the recommendations with sensitivity to the realities of city funding constraints and proposed strategies that would not require substantial new funding.