As the Los Angeles homelessness crisis news begins to sink in, we must come to terms with some pretty daunting numbers. A 12% rise in homelessness. Nearly 59,000 are without shelter. People are losing their homes faster than we can house them. Within these larger numbers are communities such as our LGBTQ and gender expansive neighbors who, when they lose their housing, are faced with added challenges that require compassion mixed with deft understanding of the housing landscape in Los Angeles. At the time of the 2019 count, 8.2% of homeless individuals identified as LGBQ while 2.4% identified as transgendered or gender non-conforming. Additionally, it is estimated that 40% of youth experiencing homelessness – which increased by 24% this year – identify as LGBTQ.
Homeless shelters are typically divided by gender and designated for families or single individuals. It’s very likely, none of these are a comfortable fit for an LGBTQ individual. Furthermore, many in this community have been the victims of abuse and violence. And stories of elder LGBTQ losing their homes when a partner dies are all too common.
At NHF, we first connect with LGBTQ homeless individuals upon discharge from the hospital. Our philosophy is centered on trauma informed care and our semi-private rooms offer LGBTQ and gender expansive individuals comfort and privacy. Together, these measures ensure that all of our guests receive post-hospital medical oversight and social services in an atmosphere that is welcoming and affirming.
Furthermore, NHF offers Bridge Housing which ensures that guests seeking housing will be sheltered while an appropriate stable housing opportunity is identified.
As we reflect on Pride month, we recognize the importance of celebrating and affirming the presence of the LGBTQ community. Pride is one way of helping to break down barriers, dispelling myths and creating awareness around the needs of the community while encouraging organizations such as ours to advance language and services that are supportive, inclusive and appropriate.
We also recognize the support of the Los Angeles LGBT Center as they have facilitated the transition of our LGBTQ guests from recuperative care to appropriate stable housing with grace and care. We appreciate their partnership in helping to reduce homelessness among our LGBTQ neighbors.