Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth Services in Urban Homeless Shelters
Homeless shelter administrators provide shelter, food, and other basic needs to the homeless population. Because policies, environments, and services adhere to the general population, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth suffer when homeless shelter administrators do not address specific needs. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of homeless shelter administrators and bridge the gap in knowledge about the policies and environments that impact the homeless LGBTQ youth community. The theoretical framework for this study was Tajfel and Turner's theory of social identity. Research questions included significant differences between developed shelter policies and environments based on homeless shelter administrators' perceptions and significant associations among shelter services for the homeless LGBTQ population in 1 North Carolina county. A cross-sectional study was employed, using a survey for 30 homeless shelter administrators who provide overnight shelter to individuals and families who do not have permanent housing. A chi-square test for association and exact post hoc test was used to answer the research questions. Quantitative findings revealed that the participants did not collect gender or sexual identity demographic data specific to LGBTQ youth and indicated homeless shelter administrators' perceptions to be positive regarding identifying LGBTQ homeless youth. Shelter administrators do not appear to be driven by formal policy. The implications for social change include developing new shelter policies, welcoming environments, and services in homeless shelters, guided by county policy makers' criteria to reduce homelessness among LGBTQ youth.