Many young people who come out experience some form of rejection from their families. Some parents even go so far as kicking their LGBT teens out of their homes, disowning them due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Unfortunately, when these teenagers go to foster homes and homeless shelters, they often face discrimination and harassment due to their LGBT identity.

But homeless LGBT teenagers living in Los Angeles may find their situation improving in the near future. The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center won a $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help homeless LGBT teenagers, in the largest federal grant ever awarded to an LGBT organization.

The Center will use the money to launch a five-year intervention program to help LGBT youth in foster care, juvenile detention, or in family homes where they experience rejection. The program will include services such as counseling, mentoring, sensitivity training, and other services. It also involves a research component to better understand the LGBT homeless youth population.

LGBT homeless youth are in serious need of resources devoted toward helping them put their lives together after they’ve been rejected by their families and/or peers. We know that approximately 40 percent of all homeless youth (by conservative estimates) identify as LGBT.

On top of that, LGBT youth aren’t often accepted and protected in group foster homes and homeless shelters. This makes funding for LGBT-specific programs all the more necessary.

Now, if only we could get a city like Toronto to follow in the footsteps of cities like Los Angeles or New York, and start a dedicated homeless shelter for LGBT youth and/or dedicated services for LGBT youth currently within the city’s shelter or foster care system.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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