The purpose of this Practice Brief is 1) to educate stakeholders about the challenges faced by sexual and gender minority (SGM) homeless youth who engage in survival sex, and 2) recommend best practices with the SGM homeless youth population.
The key challenges in working with SGM homeless youth are a lack of family support; barriers to stable, affordable housing; lack of employment opportunities; and victimizing environments and survival practices. The strengths of SGM homeless youth include affirmation of their SGM identity, their ability to meet their basic needs in the face of adversity, and interaction with SGM identity-affirming social networks. This Practice Brief outlines the goals for improving the lives of SGM homeless youth, and strategies for addressing each of the goals are proposed. One goal is to provide SGM youth with viable and reliable alternative sources of stability, such as housing and employment. Among the goals proposed for this are ensuring non-discrimination in shelters and permanent housing, as well as implementing fair hiring practices that prevent discrimination against SGM youth. Another issue addressed is the importance of educating police about the unique experiences of SGM homeless youth and how to interact with them in beneficial ways. Goals and strategies for such police training are proposed. 13 references and 3 online resources