The Runaway & Homeless Youth Act, which was first passed in 2008, is due to be reauthorized. Rep. Gwen Moore has filed a new version of the bill that would explicitly include LGBT youth in its coverage. Moore’s bill is co-sponsored by openly gay Rep. Mark Pocan.
I ran away from home when I was an adolescent,” said Rep. Moore. “It was the first and last time. Living on the streets is a difficult and dangerous experience – one that no child should have to endure. Unfortunately, homelessness is the reality for hundreds of thousands of youth each year. According to some studies, LGBT youth account for up to 40 percent of all homeless youth. LGBT homelessness is an issue that negatively impacts our children, our families and our communities.”
LGBT youth advocate Cyndi Lauper reacts via press release:
No young person should ever be homeless, let alone because they are gay or transgender, but when they are, we need to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect when they seek help,” said Cyndi Lauper, Co-Founder of the True Colors Fund. “I applaud Representatives Moore and Pocan for championing the Runaway and Homeless Youth Inclusion Act. Every young person, no matter who they are, deserves an even break and should never be turned away. If we want a strong future, we need to invest in all of our youth.”
Here’s some background on the bill:
Currently, the legislation omits language relating to LGBT youth. The Runaway and Homeless Youth Inclusion Act (RHYIA) would help ensure that LGBT youth are not discriminated against and that grant recipients have the cultural competency to effectively serve these youth. In addition, RHYIA would take important steps to provide family support services for those struggling with the sexual orientation or gender identity of youth in their families.