Recent research conducted by two Syracuse University faculty members, working collaboratively with community agencies, indicates the most important issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified (LGBTQ) youth in the Central New York (CNY) community are bullying, family acceptance, self-acceptance, and having to leave home. Additionally, the two issues believed to most likely put LGBTQ youth at risk of homelessness are parental physical or emotional abuse and being forced to leave home because of LGBTQ identity. The study’s complete findings will be shared at a public meeting on the housing experiences of LGBTQ youth from the CNY community on Monday, May 4, 3:30 p.m. The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Peck Hall, 601 East Genesee Street. Free parking is available.

The research project entitled, “Housing and LGBTQ Youth: A Mixed-Methods Community Needs Assessment,” is led by Falk College principal investigators Deb Coolhart, PhD, LMFT, Assistant Professor, Marriage and Family Therapy and Maria Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, Hartford Doctoral Fellow in Geriatric Social Work, Assistant Research Professor, Aging Studies Institute. In addition to understanding the experiences of CNY runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth, the investigators assessed the understanding of homeless LGBTQ youth among local service providers, and identified existing services, gaps and barriers affecting runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth. Interviews indicate many youth often have negative experiences in the shelter system and sometimes engage in dangerous activities to avoid using them. Surveyed LGBTQ youth and service providers feel there is a need for LGBTQ-specific shelters or safe and stable housing beyond shelters.

During the summer of 2013, the Syracuse/Onondaga County Youth Bureau contacted the Falk College Research Center about homelessness among LGBTQ youth. To date, available research on homeless LGBTQ youth has been done in large cities, providing little information about the unique experiences and needs of homeless LGBTQ youth elsewhere. The project received seed grant funding from Falk College and includes collaboration with ACR Health Youth Services and the Q Center, the Syracuse/Onondaga County Youth Bureau, and the Salvation Army.

Findings from this study will result in several published manuscripts and provide data to Q Home agencies for applications to fund services for homeless LGBTQ youth. For more information about the event and the research project, contact Deb Coolhart, or Maria T. Brown,

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