top of page

"I was either under a bridge, under a bus bench, or sometimes couch surfing if I needed a shower."

                                          -Christian M., Thrive client

Prevalence of Youth Homelessness Image.p

It is estimated that about 7% of youth in the United States are LGBTQ, while 40% of youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ.  In the South, this is estimated to be closer to 50%. The San Antonio branch of the national organization Stand Up For Kids, which provides street outreach services to all youth, has always told us that 1 of every 2 young people they serve identifies as LGBTQ. 100% of the young adults who have come through Thrive's doors have either been kicked out of their housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, or have aged out of the foster care system and had nowhere to go. Our experiences, and the experiences of our young adults, have been similar to what national research shows, some of which can be seen below:


  • LGBTQ young adults have a 120% higher risk of reporting homelessness compared to youth who identify as heterosexual and cisgender. 

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. 

    • LGB young adults seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth, and are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.​

    • 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt, with 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.

  • Compared to their non-LGBTQ peers, LGBTQ youth are more likely to:

    • Report more physical harm from others both before and during their periods of homelessness (62% vs. 47%)

    • Report more harm to themselves both before and during their periods of homelessness (25% vs. 15%)

    • Experience discrimination or stigma within the family (64% vs. 37%)

    • Experience discrimination or stigma outside of the family (60% vs. 37%)

    • Report exchanging sex for basic needs (27% vs. 9%)

    • Report having been forced to have sex (38% vs. 15%)

In the 2015 study "Serving Our Youth," providers were asked to list the top 3 reasons for homelessness in their LGBTQ clients:

TrueColors Report- Reasons for LGBTQ You







1. “Our Issue.” True Colors United, 2019,

2. Morton, M.H., Dworsky, A., & Samuels, G.M. (2017). Missed opportunities: Youth homelessness in America. National  estimates. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

3.“10 Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States- 2017.” Https://, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 10 Apr. 2019,

4. CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

5. James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

6. Choi, S.K., Wilson, B.D.M., Shelton, J., & Gates, G. (2015). Serving Our Youth 2015: The Needs and Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth Experiencing Homelessness. Los Angeles: The Williams Institute with True Colors Fund.

Image- “Prevalence of Youth Homelessness in America.” Voices of Youth Count, 2017,

bottom of page