Homelessness
4:15 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Pilot program aims to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness

Members of the DiverseCity Youth Chorus rehearse before performing at the community forum Tuesday.
Members of the DiverseCity Youth Chorus rehearse before performing at the community forum Tuesday.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati-area groups are working together to test a federal pilot program aimed at reducing the number of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Meredith Hicks with Lighthouse Youth Services explains why the region is one of just two in the country chosen to try out new strategies targeting this vulnerable population.

"They wanted it to be a place that people could say, 'hey, if they can do it in Cincinnati we can do it too,'" says Hicks. "They didn't want to go necessarily with New York City or Los Angeles where they have great supports and resources for LGBT youth. They wanted this to be something we can test here and bring across our region, across our country, and really work to support LGBT youth nationally."

Lighthouse was one of several agencies to host a forum Tuesday on the national initiative.

Hicks estimates about 15 percent of Lighthouse's clients identify as LGBTQ, but says the region's number is probably higher because some youth may be reluctant to give that information, and others skip seeking services all together.