For the first time ever, the city is formally recognizing November as Runaway and Homeless Youth Awareness Month, marking the occasion with a proclamation that was read Tuesday at City Hall by Gloria Casarez, the city’s director of LGBT affairs.
According to C2P (Housing Committee of Connect To Protect, a coalition of youth-serving agencies and advocates, organized by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), LGBT youth are disproportionately affected by homelessness, with an estimated one in five Philadelphia homeless youth identifying as LGBT.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless:
- 20% of homeless youth are LGBT compared to a general LGBT youth population of 10%.
- LGBT youth, once homeless, are at higher risk for victimization, mental health problems, and unsafe sexual practices. 58.7% of LGBT homeless youth have been sexually victimized compared to 33.4% of heterosexual homeless youth
- LGBT youth are roughly 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual homeless youth
- LGBT homeless youth commit suicide at higher rates (62%) than heterosexual homeless youth (29%)