It's estimated that between 20 to 40 percent of all homeless youths identify as LGBT, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Many are disowned once they come out of the closet while others have run away from abusive homes.
In Chicago, homeless LGBTQ youth flock and compete for limited resources. From May 2-5, Windy City Times will host a summit on LGBTQ youth in the Chicago region, to assess the current issues impacting homeless youth, and new solutions to these complex issues. The title of the summit is "Owning Our Lives: Dream It. Speak It. Do It!!"
“The summit hopes to shine a brighter light on the problem and what is being done currently as a way to suggest new ideas that can be no-cost, low-cost and high-cost. It also hopes to show that more resources are needed, by bringing together government, private and non-profit stakeholders on these issues. There will need to be a lot of follow up on the summit, so ideally some of the agencies will commit to that work in the coming months,” said Tracy Baim, publisher and executive editor of Windy City Media Group.
The first two days of the summit will be broken down into general plenary sessions and workshops focusing on areas including education and job training, housing issues, public policy, legal issues, healthcare access, mental health and substance abuse.”
“These issues are very complex. While there are some clean-cut cases of families kicking out LGBTQ youth, there are far more factors at play for most of these youth. Many of them come from the DCFS system or other systems, where their needs have not been met, where foster families have abandoned them, and officials have not had a way to completely understand them. So there are no simple solutions here, no one-size-fits-all answer. But it is time we stop being afraid of that complexity and see if there are additional solutions that can be tried,” Baim said.
The results of the summit will be available free online, along with video excerpts from the reporting on the summit.
Visit ChicagoSummit.LGBThomelessness.com for more information.