Forgotten Youth: Homeless LGBT Youth of Color and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act

Page, Michelle | January 31, 2017

Over the years, the rate of youth homelessness in America has steadily risen, prompting the creation and subsequent revision of corrective policies. One such policy is the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 1974. The Act is not a cure-all for homelessness but it does provide services and programs specifically designed to aid homeless youth. It has had some success, but not all homeless youth benefit from it equally.

Obviously, the youth population is not a homogenous one. Youth are of varying ages, races, genders, and sexualities. Unfortunately, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act does not specifically account for these differences which causes some youth in need to miss out on the services and programs that their peers receive. As a result, there is presently a disproportionate percentage of youth of color, and especially LGBT youth of color, who experience homelessness in a given year compared to their overall percentage in the general population.

Thus, this Comment focuses on how and why this problem occurs, the effects it has on homeless LGBT youth of color, and then proposes specific revisions to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act that would better remedy the present pervasive homelessness amongst LGBT youth of color and in effect, all homeless youth.