Federal grant to address LGBTQ youth homelessness

Homeless youth sitting on steps

Homeless LGBTQ youth are at greater risk for victimization, substance abuse and suicide.

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a $900,000 federal grant to address homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth.

The three-year grant, from the Department of Health and Human Services, will fund the “3/40 BLUEPRINT,” a collaborative project of UIC, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

“LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness are at increased risk of victimization, substance abuse, and suicide,” says Alan Dettlaff, associate professor in UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work, and the grant’s principal investigator. “This project will help to build the capacity of runaway and homeless youth providers to better understand and address the needs of LGBTQ youth and prevent these poor outcomes.”

National studies estimate that up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. These youth are also disproportionately youth of color. The 3/40 BLUEPRINT project is named for its goal — to reduce the 40 percent within three years and help end the national crisis of LGBTQ youth homelessness, Dettlaff said.

The grant, from the Administration for Children and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau of HHS, will enable the researchers to study promising practices, training methods and tools to address the needs of LGBTQ homeless youth.

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

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