Ge­or­gia State study: At­lanta home­less LGBT youth num­bers higher than pre­vi­ously re­ported

GA Voice - - News Briefs -

A new re­port re­leased on May 3 shows that At­lanta’s LGBT home­less youth prob­lem is worse than once thought. The Ge­or­gia State study showed that over 950, or 28.2 per­cent, of the 3,374 home­less and run­away youth they sur­veyed in the metro At­lanta area self-iden­tify as LGBT. That’s a 27 per­cent in­crease over a pre­vi­ously re­ported es­ti­mate of 750 LGBT home­less youth in the area.

The new find­ings come from Ge­or­gia State Univer­sity’s 2015 At­lanta Youth Count and Needs As­sess­ment (AYCNA), which took place from May through July of last year and in­volved 50 Ge­or­gia State and Emory Univer­sity stu­dents scour­ing the metro At­lanta area to count home­less youth be­tween the ages of 14 and 25.

“Cer­tainly the fact that well over one-in­four home­less youth iden­tify as LGBT, the 6.5 per­cent that iden­tify as trans­gen­der, all of those sadly re­in­force what we have known anec­do­tally for a re­ally long time—that home­less­ness among young LGBT peo­ple is some­thing we re­ally need to fo­cus on,” said Ge­or­gia Equal­ity ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Jeff Gra­ham, who was in at­ten­dance at the press con­fer­ence.

The study team was led by Dr. Eric Wright, Pro­fes­sor of So­ci­ol­ogy at Ge­or­gia State, who is also a Ge­or­gia Equal­ity board mem­ber. Wright said that the ge­n­e­sis of the idea for the study came af­ter he be­came a mem­ber of the At­lanta Coali­tion of LGBTQ Youth (ACFLY), a pro­gram of Ge­or­gia Equal­ity led by Emily Brown, who was also in at­ten­dance at the press con­fer­ence. Brown told Ge­or­gia Voice that the is­sue of home­less youth came up of­ten in their meet­ings.

“I look at this as Ge­or­gia State re­spond­ing di­rectly to the com­mu­nity’s need for data on an is­sue that we need re­sources on,” she says.

Gra­ham says they plan on in­cor­po­rat­ing the new data into Ge­or­gia Equal­ity’s work on HIV, youth en­gage­ment and trans­gen­der is­sues and mak­ing it a pri­or­ity in fu­ture pol­icy agen­das now that they have data they can push pol­i­cy­mak­ers on.

‘We’ll have to step it up even more’

Rick West­brook, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Lost-n-Found Youth, was present at the press con­fer­ence an­nounc­ing At­lanta’s home­less LGBT youth pop­u­la­tion. (File photo)

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