Alan Dettlaff, Dean of the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work, in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, leads a new project to reduce homelessness among LGBTQ youth.file6171245785775

Of the estimated 1.6 to 1.7 million youth (ages 12 to 17) who experience homelessness each year, up to 40% identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or questioning (LGBTQ). These youth are also disproportionately youth of color. Practices have begun to emerge that have shown promise in responding to the needs of LGBTQ homeless youth. However, information on these practices has not been systematically collected, and no unifying practice models have emerged. To facilitate positive outcomes for LGBTQ homeless youth, additional information is needed on these emerging practices, as well as information on culturally responsive screening and assessment tools, training models for runaway and homeless youth (RHY) providers, and examples of policies and programs that facilitate LGBTQ homeless youth feeling safe, respected, and affirmed.

The 3/40 BLUEPRINT project will respond to these needs by developing a blueprint to reduce the 40% of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ. This blueprint will build the capacity of Transitional Living Programs to serve LGBTQ homeless youth by strengthening their efforts to better understand and address the needs of this population. Specifically, the proposed project will conduct:

  • a systematic review of existing literature;
  • a comprehensive needs assessment; and
  • a systematic identification and analysis of screening and assessment tools, existing and emerging practices, and trainings available for RHY providers.

The project will be guided by the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Intervention Model and an Implementation Science framework to identify the core intervention components and core implementation drivers that are necessary to implement and sustain evidence-informed practices with LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. The project will also have a particular emphasis on identifying the unique needs of LGBTQ homeless youth of color and the promising strategies that respond to those needs.

This project is a collaboration between the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. A Technical Expert Group, consisting of leading experts in the RHY and LGBTQ fields, will provide ongoing consultation and input on all tasks. All efforts will also be coordinated with the Runaway and Homeless Youth Networks of Support, including the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center, the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, and the National Runaway Safeline.

Blog Post Author: Alan Dettlaff, PhD, Dean of the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work

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