Yesterday, volunteers in San Diego put together 700 backpacks of essential items to give to LGBTQ+ homeless youth. Each backpack contained items such as shampoos, gloves, and hats to keep the kids clean and warm. The initiative was put together by the San Diego Human Rights Campaign. They do this giveaway annually, around the time of MLK Day of Service.
Once the backpacks were filled, the volunteers divided them up and delivered them to three different facilities that support homeless youth: San Diego Youth Services, Youth in Transition, and Street Angels.
Layne Rackley, a member of the San Diego Human Rights Campaign, says it’s important to support this particularly compromised community. He stated, “A large percentage of our homeless youth here in San Diego are from the LGBTQ+ community. They’ve been ostracized or shut off from their homes.”
According to The Trevor Project, a 2022 study showed that “28% of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing homelessness or housing instability at some point in their lives.” The National Network for Youth found that not only are LGBTQ+ youth significantly more likely to experience homelessness, they are also more likely to experience “family rejection, physical assaults, and sexual exploitation in shelters and on the streets.”
While LGBTQ+ youth face adversities at a societal level, there are ways to support them. Find your local LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth program and find out how you can help. You can donate your time, money, or goods like the volunteers in San Diego. Additionally, you can support True Colors United, an organization co-founded by Cyndi Lauper working to end LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. You can advocate for LGBTQ+ homeless youth at a federal or state level.