LGBT Homeless: Where and How to Get Help

This information is current as of March 16, 2022.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community faces an increased risk of homelessness and discrimination, particularly for LGBT youth. With so many hurdles to face, it’s essential to pinpoint resources for the LGBT homeless: where and how to get help.

These resources include a Runaway Safeline, the Safe Place outreach, and prevention program, the Trevor Project, and other nonprofit organizations tailored towards the LGBT population.

Federal Programs for Homeless LGBT

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides housing support for Americans across the nation, including LGBT homeless: where and how to get help. In addition, they have developed various programs to help provide LGBT support and education for organizations with the homeless population, aiming to end discrimination and further assist them.

In addition to giving these programs the tools they need to help LGBT adults and youth, HUD has also created the following programs to assist LGBT individuals in need and/or crisis.

The National Runaway Safeline

The National Runaway Safeline is a 24/7 crisis connection hotline catering to youth – including LGBT youth. The hotline is for those who have run away from home, self-identify as homeless, or become victims of human trafficking. It also helps with abuse, dating abuse, mental health, pregnancy, and suicide.

Apart from the hotline, the National Runaway Safeline offers a live chat option, email option, and forums to read through. The Safeline never asks for identifying information unless you feel comfortable sharing it. Professionals are waiting to lend an ear and help or advise if requested.

The Safe Place

The Safe Place is a service specifically for homeless youth, including LGBT youth, up to either 18 or 21 years old. The goal of Safe Place is to ensure that every teen and child has a safe place to stay and receive help when in need.

This is a network of Safe Place agencies that have opened their doors for youth in need. Most of these agencies are community businesses or organizations that have been verified as a Safe Place in the neighborhood. They may include libraries, firehouses, YMCAs, and social service facilities.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is created explicitly for LGBT youth ages 13-24 who are in need. Created over twenty years ago, the Project knows that LGBT young people are four times more likely to attempt suicide, so they work to end suicide among the LGBTQ population.

The Project—created over twenty years ago—knows that LGBT young people are four times more likely to attempt suicide. So the organization works to end suicide among the LGBTQ population.

The Trevor Project offers 24/7 support year-round through trained counselors via call, text, or chat. Their extensive resource center even includes a zone called TrevorSpace, where you can interact with other LGBTQ youth online.

Nonprofit Programs for Homeless LGBT

When considering LGBT homeless: where and how to get help, nonprofits are at the top of the list. In addition to generalized federal programs for homeless adults, nonprofit programs support homeless LGBT youth across state lines.

Below, you’ll find some examples of these programs in major cities across the U.S. Don’t see your city or area listed? Search “your city LGBT homeless services” on any search engine to find help in your local area. You can also look through this list of LGBT resources by state.

Trans Lifeline

The Trans Lifeline provides peer support for trans people by trans people. This grassroots nonprofit assists with emotional and financial support for trans people in crisis. Their principles revolve around: peer support, community, not cops, harm reduction, confidentiality and anonymity, structural, not pathological views, informed consent, and more.

By calling the Trans Lifeline, you will speak to a trans/nonbinary peer who will always respect your anonymity and confidentiality.

Covenant House

Covenant House aims to provide unconditional love and respect to all young people facing homelessness. In addition, they make an intentional effort to include and provide adequate services for LGBT homeless youth.

You can find Covenant House locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Washington, D.C., Texas, Louisiana, Ontario, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico. If you’re not in one of these areas, you can still use their Shelter Listings page to search over 4,000 listings for shelter programs in the U.S.

Covenant House offers a trauma-informed, resilience-focused approach to LGBT homelessness, providing dormitories, food, and education to those who enter its doors.

Ali Forney Center – New York

The Ali Forney Center in New York aims to protect homeless LGBT youth while providing the tools needed to be independent. The Center offers emergency housing, resources, a 24/7 phone number for LGBT homeless youth, and Harlem drop-in center.

The Ali Forney Center provides housing with stability, support, and comprehensive services to help LGBT homeless youth get on their feet and get back on track. They offer health services, mental health services, trans resources, education and job readiness, transitional housing, and more.

At intake, homeless youth will receive a medical checkup, psych evaluation, HIV counseling and testing, Medicaid enrollment, warm meals, hot showers, clean clothes, and 24-hour access to services.

Ongoing support includes therapy, counseling, medical care, and case management.

Educational resources include GED classes, the Work Readiness Program, life skills training, resume writing workshops, internship programs, and recreational groups. The Center also offers 58 transitional housing beds throughout Manhattan. Residents are paired with a LIFE Coach, and 77% are employed.

LGBT Center – Los Angeles

The LA LGBT Center boasts one of California’s widest arrays of services for LGBT youth. With 9 centers across Los Angeles, there are many locations to choose from.

Youth between 12-24 who have been abandoned or fled their families can find solace at the LA LGBT Center. The Center provides temporary housing or housing referrals, hot meals, showers, clothing and laundry services, educational programs, HIV testing and counseling, addiction recovery services, employment programs, computer labs, recreational activities, art and music groups, counseling, and peer support groups.

While living in their transitional housing, Center staff helps residents enroll in school, maintain a job, and/or manage their savings to become independent. In addition, both staff and residents plan excursions and day trips to connect more with other LGBT youth.

C2P Youth Center – Chicago

The C2P Youth Center (Halstead) in Chicago creates a safe and confidential environment for LGBT+ youth in Chicago who are homeless or looking for help. The Center’s staff specializes in social work, LGBTQIA studies, sociology, and anthropology.

The staff aids with coming out, identity management, sexual health education, stable housing, and employment. You can call, email, or stop by the Center on Halstead to speak to someone about the youth program.

Some programming includes grab-and-go lunch and dinners on Wednesdays, social groups on Fridays, and individual case management daily. 

Rainbow Lotus Program – Miami

The Rainbow Lotus House welcomes everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community, including adults and youth. This program provides this homeless community with a safe and nurturing environment.

The organization offers a holistic approach to well-being, including practical resources such as shelter, meals, clothing, educational assistance, job readiness training, and access to health care and mental health care treatment.

If you join a support group, you’ll also enjoy psychosocial education, field trips, social activities, and linkages to the community.

Gay City – Seattle

Gay City is the ultimate hub for LGBTQ individuals seeking resources, wellness, and community in Seattle. They offer plenty of health resources, including assistance making a medical appointment, HIV/STI testing, help with health care enrollment, and more. They even have a youth arts and mentorship program specifically for LGBTQ youth in Seattle.

Their resource database includes a long list of agencies, organizations, and programs in the area to assist with anything and everything you may need. For example, they list over 10 resources in the Seattle area for housing assistance.

If you need help acceding the database, you can call Gay City directly or visit its in-person location.

True Colors United

True Colors United does not provide direct resources for LGBT homeless people in crisis. The organization works on a larger scale with federal, state, and local governments to advocate for pro-LGBT policies and resources.

True Colors United has developed over 25 Youth Action Boards across the country. The organization co-founded the National Youth Forum on Homelessness and has developed the leadership skills of dozens of LGBT youth who had previously experienced homelessness.

It Gets Better

It Gets Better is on a mission to empower, uplift, and connect LGBT youth in all situations. This nonprofit provides education, resources, and events to unit LGBT individuals across the U.S. and the globe.

Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service

If you’re seeking temporary housing or are going through financially trying times, you may qualify for Lifeline service or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?

Both Lifeline and ACP are federal benefit programs that allow low-income consumers to receive free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.