Studies have found that LGBTQ youth comprise up to 40% of the homeless youth population in New York City. In December 2007 the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services (ESC) reported on the findings of the first New York City Council census of homeless youth in NYC. This data showed that 28% of the street youth identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, 11% were unsure of their sexual orientation or were not comfortable answering the question and 5% identified as transgender with another 18% unsure or choosing not to answer the question about gender identity.
The study also verified what we see at the Ali Forney Center (AFC) everyday; LGBTQ street youth experience greater levels of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking violence, trauma, HIV infection, mental health issues and substance abuse than their heterosexual counterparts in the homeless youth population.
LGBT Youth comprise a disproportionate number of the homeless population and are 8 times more likely to experience homelessness.
AFC’s clients come from all walks of life. More than 80% are kicked out of their homes for being who they are. The remainder run away due to abuse, neglect, or a combination of rejection and abuse. About half of our clients come to us from other states and some are even from around the world. 49% of our clients are male, 29% are female 22% are transgender. 60% of AFC’s clients are African American, 30% are Latino, and 10% are white; 90% of clients are uninsured and the majority do not even have proper identification. 75% have a history with the police. At least 20% are HIV positive.