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Homeless Gay Youths Descend on Washington

Advocates for
Homeless Gay Youths Descend on Washington

The National Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Homeless Youth will be convening on Friday in Washington, D.C., to ask congressional leaders to help gay homeless children.

The National Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Homeless Youth will be convening on Friday in Washington, D.C., to ask congressional leaders to help gay homeless children.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness -- a nonpartisan group working to combat homelessness -- 40 nonprofit directors, civil rights advocates, policy analysts, and youth advocates will be coming to Washington to discuss their 2009 goals for reducing gay youth homelessness. The meeting will take place the same day the House of Representatives votes on the contentious $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan.

The 40 leaders are members of the National Advisory Council on LGBTQ Homeless Youth, a group created in 2007 to lobby Congress for appropriation funds for homeless gay youths -- specifically, funding for housing and services. Many studies have shown that gay children -- because of issues like homophobia and alienation -- suffer from homelessness at a much greater rate than their straight peers. Seven different studies of homeless youths in the U.S. have concluded that approximately 20% of homeless youth are LGBTQ.

"Unfortunately, providing housing, shelter, and services for homeless youth has not been enough of a priority for federal policymakers," Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, said in a release. "And before the creation of the National Advisory Council there was even less awareness of the needs of this particular subset of LGBTQ homeless youth. I'm glad that a strong partnership of advocates has finally united to push the issue of youth homelessness to the forefront of the new administration and Congress's agenda in 2009."

As of press time, it wasn't clear which congressional leaders the homeless advocates would be meeting with. (Neal Broverman, The Advocate)

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