There are several reasons a young person may become homeless; from family poverty, domestic violence, residential instability, and even rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
While all homelessness is tragic, LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness are in deep and immediate peril. 40% of homeless young people identify as LGBTQ. Of these youth, 68% say that family rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identify is a major cause of their homelessness. Many fear seeking help from programs that are not affirming and tailored to their needs.
Jade was one of the many youth that become homeless after they age out of the foster care system. She had nowhere to go, nothing to eat, and no means to support herself. Everything she owned fit into two garbage bags. Because Jade was a transgender woman still in the early stages of transitioning, she was not allowed into women’s shelters because she was assigned male at birth. She felt unsafe in the all-male facilities, so she moved from couch to couch and floor to floor, living in unsafe and inadequate conditions. Jade eventually ended up involved in sex work just to make enough money to survive. She was homeless, hungry, and traumatized from her experiences on the streets.
Fortunately, Jade found Indiana Youth Group (IYG) through their street outreach program and was connected with a case manager. They worked together to help Jade overcome the barriers she faced and the severe trauma she experienced. Now, Jade is housed for the first time in her own apartment, holds a full-time job, and is engaged in mental health and medical services. She is still actively involved with IYG in their Living Skills program where she meets with her case manager weekly. Finally part of a caring community, Jade has regained her sense of security, confidence, and health as she transitions to the woman she is truly meant to be.