Feels like home: Helping homeless LGBT youth

This week, as part of our ongoing effort to shed light on under-reported issues, we focus on a problem a surprising number of young gay people experience: homelessness — often because of rejection by their families.

Need to Know correspondent Mona Iskander traveled to Minneapolis recently. There she met one young man who made it up from the streets thanks to a small innovative program now drawing attention across the country.

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

 

Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3DMCNLD77XSRTSDAZQTEBP3X64 First L

    Such are the consequences of rebelling against society.  The media and their friendlies need to focus more on the personal responsibilities of peoples’ choices in life unless we’re trying to foster generations of irresponsible people.

  • Xyz

    Quite inspiring to see how kind and generous people can be.

  • Lifepoetic72

    beautiful story and I hope more local organizations in other cities open are encouraged to follow in the foot-steps of this wonderful organization to help LGBT homeless youth. No one should feel ashamed of who they are. If children and teens were being “thrown away” b/c of their skin color or their sex, this would be a much more incendiary issue. But, I don’t believe, as do most people and scientists for that matter, that being LGBT is a choice, it’s who you are naturally and thus should be embraced and accepted. Thank goodness this small, but powerful organization is taking steps to protect, nuture, and guide these young people who otherwise would be homeless.  Great program! Thanks for showing!

  • NER

    Science tells us that gay people do not choose to be gay, but even if it didn’t, common sense should. Why would the young man portrayed in tonight’s story choose to be gay knowing that would make him unwelcome in his own family?

    Perhaps the best response to your comment about personal responsibility, rebellion, and choice comes from Nathan Hoskins, in this StoryCorps account of how he learned at an early age how dangerous it was to be gay: http://storycorps.org/listen/stories/nathan-hoskins-and-sally-evans/.

    Please take a few minutes to listen to his story, First L.

  • NER

    Science tells us that gay people do not choose to be gay, but even if it didn’t, common sense should. Why would the young man portrayed in tonight’s story choose to be gay knowing that would make him unwelcome in his own family?

    Perhaps the best response to your comment about personal responsibility, rebellion, and choice comes from Nathan Hoskins, in this StoryCorps account of how he learned at an early age how dangerous it was to be gay: http://storycorps.org/listen/stories/nathan-hoskins-and-sally-evans/.

    Please take a few minutes to listen to his story, First L.

  • Mfmolitor

    Way to go, Minneapolis. Great program.

  • Janice Urbsaitis

    Equal rights in all areas of life is the right thing to do for all elected leaders.

  • Halo385

    Thanks for a well done story that not only reminds us of a need, but also tells about how people are addressing that need.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3DMCNLD77XSRTSDAZQTEBP3X64 First L

    I have.  I can only look back to my years as a teen/tweny-sumpin’.  There are three Rs in life.  And, no it’s not readin’ ritin’ and ritmatic.  It’s rebel, rebuke, and respond.  The consequences to your actions rebuke you in your rebellion.  You can respond by continuing to rebel or you can recognize … No, I can’t tell you why each individual chooses his path, but I can tell you many will out of pure rebellion … yes, I said many …

  • Haalboom

    And….your point is?

  • Mitchellwen

    Heartless, First L. Heartless. When someone is discriminated because of sexual orientation, I take great offence to your comments. When young people are rebellious, it’s usually because of drugs, perhaps mental illness,etc. If a family/parents “throw out ” their child because he/she is gay, how very sad and tragic. If that’s your take on THIS particular subject, then you reap what you sow…I’m sure you’re perfect. NOT!!!!

  • Rocki Simões

    Thanks to the “Need to Know” crew for focusing on the issue of sexual orientation/gender identity and youth homelessness.  I am proud of Clayton for sharing a bit of his story and of the family he has created with Sara.  And I am glad many people had a chance to hear about them through PBS’ good work!  Thank you, Mona (and the rest of the crew)!

    I also wanted to add some other layers to this issue, and let folks know that the majority of youth who have participated in our GLBT Host Home Program have been youth of color, many of whom became homeless due to factors related to economic and racial injustices, and not exclusively to homophobia and transphobia.

    However, once homeless, many then have to navigate a system that can be very homophobic and transphobic, such as shelters and transitional living programs.  This is one of the important reasons why GLBT-specific and community-based alternatives are crucial when responding to homelessness.

    Thanks again for giving us an opportunity to share some of our experiences with a broader audience.

    In Solidarity,
    Rocki Simões

  • Jencendiary

    Why aren’t there more consequences for people who rebel against decency by throwing their own kids out in the street? Being gay, however it happens, is just another normal human variation. Imagine if people threw their kids out for being red-haired or left-handed? Family is the one place where you should be able to get unconditional love – and I believe if there’s judgment to be handed down, it’s for people who throw their LGBT kids out, not for the kids.

  • Craig Billings

    First L…I see you are clearly a “Born Again” or were simply raised a narrow minded knuckle head from the beginning.  I try my best to limit my responses to complete absurd comments to only…time’s up.

  • Jencendiary

    Thank you for reaching out to the young people of our community who need something a little more practical & tangible than an “It Gets Better” video. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HWN6GZICKNSCSMN7BHJU3QUWHE SoCal Writer

    Like most Southern Californians, I usually drive everywhere and don’t see homeless people except for the occasional panhandlers at freeway exit ramps. Last week when I chose to walk rather than drive to the gym and store, I saw several homeless youth (and adults) on the footbridge over a main boulevard, as well in the adjacent canyon. It reminded me that there are homeless people everywhere, close by, but often out of our line of sight. I wondered how many of these people had enough warm clothes or blankets to keep from getting cold or wet at night, when even here winter temps dip into the 30s and 40s. It’s a travesty that so many homeless people choose to sleep outside, in even colder weather like in Minnesota, because many of them find shelters to be less safe!  While the in-home host programs are wonderful for homeless youth, we also clearly need to put more of our tax dollars and donations into funding better, safer shelters for those who need them.

  • Elliott

       This is a wonderful humane response to the epidemic of ‘thrown away’ kids. While the focus is on gay kids, 80% of homeless/thrownaway children do not endorse gay identity. Rocky shows a heart of gold in her loving (agape` = selfless) act.  Her personally moving to solve a growing social problem on a small scale is inspiring. What makes this grass roots effort ’different’ from state run programs is the absence of financial incentive and the presence of an open, helping heart. Taking the GLBT aspect out of the equation, Rocky has shown us an inspiring model that may be appropriate for consideration for many homeless youth and adults.

  • Elliott

       This is a wonderful humane response to the epidemic of ‘thrown away’ kids. While the focus is on gay kids, 80% of homeless/thrownaway children do not endorse gay identity. Rocky shows a heart of gold in her loving (agape` = selfless) act.  Her personally moving to solve a growing social problem on a small scale is inspiring. What makes this grass roots effort ’different’ from state run programs is the absence of financial incentive and the presence of an open, helping heart. Taking the GLBT aspect out of the equation, Rocky has shown us an inspiring model that may be appropriate for consideration for many homeless youth and adults.

  • Mark Gerardy

    Personal responsibility starts with parents to nurture and love their kids. 

  • Mark Gerardy

    This program is part of the solution. Bigotry and biased views, regardless of how “right” they are convinced that they are, are part of the problem that creates human misery and loss of human potential. To be pro-family and pro-child is to reach out to everyone, not to forsake those values to appease a mean spirited ideology masquading as religion. An honest spirituality embraces love and its components of patience, acceptance, support, nurturing and compassion. Every child is a soul with value. The only moral sin are those who reject others based on their social identity and are inhospitable. 

    I hope that this program gains federal, state and local funding and goes nationwide to combat LGBT suicide and instead, adds value to society by allowing generations young people to grow into responsible, self-sufficient adults who make healthy choices, that are not inherent to any claim of superiority of any sexual orientation, but herein lie within young adults to be compelled towards valuing relationships that are about commitment, regardless if with opposite-gender or same-gender coupling. With the same core values intact, anyone who berates this program in place of punitive harsh judgment is out-of-touch with reality and youth. Few youth will embrace ideological rhetoric which goes against their own nature. The only solution is to work with human nature within the two monogamous adult context and bring out the best in people independent of any ideology which has no place to govern in our secular society.

    Children should be protected. Marriage should be preserved. Families should be valued. This includes LGBT children, same-gender marriages, and same-gender families. Being punitive does not add value nor inspire any changes, it only fulfills the sadistic urges and perversions of those whose mental make-up is rooted in stubborn ignorance. Programs like this one will ultimately light the way as the core values of love will outshine those who lack the same.

  • Mark Gerardy

    This program is part of the solution. Bigotry and biased views, regardless of how “right” they are convinced that they are, are part of the problem that creates human misery and loss of human potential. To be pro-family and pro-child is to reach out to everyone, not to forsake those values to appease a mean spirited ideology masquading as religion. An honest spirituality embraces love and its components of patience, acceptance, support, nurturing and compassion. Every child is a soul with value. The only moral sin are those who reject others based on their social identity and are inhospitable. 

    I hope that this program gains federal, state and local funding and goes nationwide to combat LGBT suicide and instead, adds value to society by allowing generations young people to grow into responsible, self-sufficient adults who make healthy choices, that are not inherent to any claim of superiority of any sexual orientation, but herein lie within young adults to be compelled towards valuing relationships that are about commitment, regardless if with opposite-gender or same-gender coupling. With the same core values intact, anyone who berates this program in place of punitive harsh judgment is out-of-touch with reality and youth. Few youth will embrace ideological rhetoric which goes against their own nature. The only solution is to work with human nature within the two monogamous adult context and bring out the best in people independent of any ideology which has no place to govern in our secular society.

    Children should be protected. Marriage should be preserved. Families should be valued. This includes LGBT children, same-gender marriages, and same-gender families. Being punitive does not add value nor inspire any changes, it only fulfills the sadistic urges and perversions of those whose mental make-up is rooted in stubborn ignorance. Programs like this one will ultimately light the way as the core values of love will outshine those who lack the same.

  • Tamara G. Suttle, M.Ed., LPC,

    What a terrific program and inspiring story!  We can all give a little more to make this world a little safer. 

    Thanks for sharing.