At the White House LGBT Innovation Summit this summer, LGBT Tech vice president Allyson Robinson announced a new program to leverage the power of mobile technology to improve outcomes for homeless LGBT youth: Connect 4 Life. We are excited to release our latest research report, Helping Homeless Youth Stay Connected, showing just how big the problem of LGBT youth homelessness really is – and how mobile connectivity can help solve it.
In producing this research, LGBT Technology Institute research fellow Andrea Hackl collected and analyzed dozens of field reports, articles, and research papers describing the unique experiences of homeless LGBT youth and the impact mobile technology has on their lives. Some highlights:
LGBT youth are significantly overrepresented within the homeless population. A recent study found that 40% of the clients served by homeless youth shelters and other service organizations are LGBT.
Homeless LGBT youth face unique challenges on the streets. Not only are these young people more likely to experience depression and other mental health problems, but they are also at greater risk of becoming victims of physical and sexual abuse.
For transgender youth, a lack of culturally competent shelters and services makes the situation even worse.
Mobile technology plays a vital role in the lives of homeless youth. For instance, work conducted by USC social work professor Eric Rice showed the potential for mobile technology to improve their mental and physical wellbeing by allowing them to stay connected with supportive networks.