LGBT Homelessness is a term I never thought to even consider a problem in the community until I experienced it first hand. You don’t see it on the streets, there aren’t any campaigns, organizations or even public service announcements that talk about it. So, it must not be an issue at all, right? You, and I, would have been very wrong.
Not only does it exist, it is only getting worse. Children are thrown out of their homes for coming out, HIV is still causing some people to lose their jobs and housing even today and crystal meth is a plague that nobody has an answer to. These are the primary sources that lead to a gay person to wind up on the street. So what happens next?
Well, if you aren’t already using drugs, chances are you will probably start using with other people in similar situations. Predators will prey on the weak and helpless youth and drug addicted adult, or you spend the next 10+ years bouncing in and out of rehab and sober living programs. It’s hard to fathom ever living like that. Especially when most of these people are smart, educated, we’ll liked people that made a singular bad decision to start using. These outcomes do have one thing in common though. There’s no way out.
What do I do about it? First and foremost, treat these people like the human beings that they are.
People are fallible. But every person has the right to be truly happy. No matter what that looks like.
Addiction is scary and homelessness has its own set of stigmas rolled up in it. So you can educate yourself on these issues. Ask the questions, what does homeless look like in my community? Are there adequate resources available and accessible for everyone to use so as to pick themselves back up? Who were they before the streets? Remember, these are your friends, family, loved ones. That doesn’t have to end just because of homelessness. In fact, that is the single most important thing that everyone can do to end homelessness all together. Show these people that you sitll love them, that you haven’t given up on them, be there when they need a friend to talk to. You will be amazed by how much good that will do.
LGBT homelessness is disproportionately bad compared to straight homelessness. But we can be the first community to end homelessness on our streets. Follow Restoring Pride on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Keep yourself apprised of what’s being done in your community. Most importantly we cannot achieve this very realistic goal with out your contributions. Donate today and please share this with your friends and family.