The need for safe spaces: Exploring the experiences of homeless LGBTQ youth in shelters

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35 Scopus citations


Studies indicate LGBTQ youth are at higher risk of homelessness (2–13 times) than their heterosexual cisgender counterparts and that they represent a substantial portion of youth utilizing housing and shelter services. Some authors have provided anecdotal (rather than empirical) examples of LGBTQ youth experiencing abuse or mistreatment in shelters; most studies focusing on LGBTQ homeless youth have been conducted in large cities and have rarely collected data from both youth and providers. Using an exploratory, grounded theory approach, this study utilized data from interviews with LGBTQ youth with a history of homelessness as well as service providers working with this population in a mid-sized Northeastern city. Findings suggest youth experience multiple challenges, barriers, and mistreatment in the shelters; further, data suggests several ideas about how to transform shelters to better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Homelessness
  • LGBTQ youth
  • Shelters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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