Cyndi Lauper wants the public to contact their governors and demand they improve their state’s efforts to prevent and end LGBTQ youth homelessness, which impacts queer youth twice as much as their heterosexual peers.
TRUE COLORS FUND
Lauper and her True Colors Fund, in partnership with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, have launched a state index on youth homelessness – a first-of-its-kind resource that analyzes services (from housing to access to mental health programs) offered by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The site takes LGBTQ inclusion into account and provides recommendations on how to address the unique needs of LGBTQ youth.
Through the True Colors Fund website, people can message their governor and suggest ways to improve their state’s services.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Kansas or California. In the United States of America, everyone deserves a place to call home,” Lauper, co-founder and board member of the True Colors Fund, said in a statement.
“As Americans, we have a responsibility to protect the safety, health, and dignity of every young person experiencing homelessness. Youth who experience homelessness are the some of the most resilient people I know,” she said. “It is our dream for this State Index to help each state amp up its work to ensure these young people can reach their full potential.”
According to the list, California ranked third, tying with Connecticut, while Washington and Massachusetts ranked first and second.
Alabama, Arkansas, and Wyoming are the lowest ranking.
LGBTQ youth are more than twice as likely to experience homelessness than their heterosexual peers, according to a recent study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
Overall, the number of people living on the streets of Los Angeles County in 2017 grew to 58,000 people, an increase of 23 percent from 2016, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Homeless youth face a myriad of obstacles while trying to pull themselves off the streets, from discrimination and stigma to being the victims of physical violence and having to exchange sex for basic needs, according to the Chapin Hall study.
Many LGBTQ youth are homeless and living on the streets because they have been rejected by their families, have fled family violence or are too old for the foster care system, according to a 2012 report from the True Colors Fund, The Palette Fund, and the Williams Institute.
Those hurdles are made that much more difficult when laws prevent these young people from obtaining access to necessary services, according to Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
“States must take action now so that these youth have a chance for a better future,” Foscarinis said in a statement. “The State Index provides practical tools for states to do that and helps the public hold them accountable.”