The United States government passed the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) in 1974. This piece of legislation provides federal funding for homeless youth programs, defines who is considered a homeless youth, and regulates what shelters and government agencies can do for youth who have run away from home or become homeless. This legislation, however, makes no mention of LGBT homeless youth, even though they are disproportionately represented in homeless youth populations. LGBT homeless youth often experience discrimination and abuse due to their unique identity, in addition to the other negative effects of homelessness on youth. Many are discriminated against or abused by police officers, foster care workers, and shelter staff, in addition to discrimination from other youth living in group homes. This paper examines the effects of the RHYA on LGBT youth specifically and the implications of a lack of research or specific legislation regarding this group. I examine the various ways in which this group can have fundamentally different experiences than non-LGBT homeless youth, none of which are considered in existing policy.
"Effects of the RHYA on LGBTQ Homeless Youth,"
Paideia: Vol. 6
, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/paideia/vol6/iss1/11