2SLGBTQI+ individuals – especially youth – often struggle to find safe, stable and long-term housing due to discrimination, stigma and a lack of tailored housing options. This project aimed to address this issue by researching the barriers and facilitators of accessing stable housing for 2SLGBTQI+ youth.
3 Key Insights
In 2018, despite comprising only 5 to 10% of all youth, a striking 21% of homeless youth identified as 2SLGBTQI+, and transgender youth experienced even higher rates.
These unique barriers faced by 2SLGBTQI+ youth often intersect, further complicating their ability to obtain stable housing.
The existing housing programs predominantly concentrate on urban settings and primarily provide emergency or transitional housing, leaving a significant void for long-term, permanent solutions.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Filling the knowledge gaps
This project addressed the lack of research on 2SLGBTQI+ youth homelessness in Canada, where 40% of homeless youth belong to this community. The project was a collaborative effort between several organizations to identify the barriers and facilitators of safe, stable long-term housing for these youth.
The research revealed that 2SLGBTQI+ youth often make trade-offs between housing and basic needs. Specific needs include exploring their identity, autonomy, physical and emotional safety and stability.
A community-centric approach
The project prioritized community involvement and values, ensuring the inclusion of 2SLGBTQI+ youth and service providers in the research process. It aimed to reflect the diversity of sexual orientations, gender identities and demographic characteristics within the community.
The research was divided into 3 phases, with each building on the previous:
- Phase 1: Examination of existing research and data on youth housing. See the final report from Phase 1.
- Phase 2: Collection of qualitative data through interviews and journey mapping to identify gaps in programs and services. Read the Phase 2 report.
- Phase 3: Synthesis of findings to improve stakeholder capacity in tailoring service delivery to 2SLGBTQI+ youth. Visit this project’s webpage.
Redesigning the housing continuum
The project addressed housing and the broader health, education, employment and social needs of 2SLGBTQI+ youth. This approach aimed to foster cross-sector collaboration and ultimately improve access to stable, safe and long-term housing.
Based on their unique experiences, youth participants redesigned the housing continuum to better suit 2SLGBTQI+ youth. This model differs from traditional government agency models.
Recommendations for action
The youth participants, along with service providers, recommended:
- Training and Capacity-Building: Providing education and training for service providers, landlords and others about human rights, legal obligations and best practices.
- Expanding Support: Expanding targeted supports for 2SLGBTQI+ youth.
- Policy Changes: Pursuing policy changes related to income supports and affordable housing.
Implementing the research
In the housing sector, it's crucial to ensure inclusivity and safety for 2SLGBTQI+ youth. All services, supports and programs should adhere to equity and anti-oppression best practices. Training should be inclusive of these youth.
Federal housing policy should recognize 2SLGBTQI+ youth as a distinct and priority population.
They should receive direct and targeted income assistance at key points in their housing journeys. By taking these actions, we can better support and affirm 2SLGBTQI+ youth regardless of where they live.
Program: National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund
Activity Stream: Program of Research
Title of the Research: Supporting 2SLGBTQI+ youth along the housing continuum
Lead Applicant: Social Research and Demonstration Corporation
Research Project Web Page: https://srdc.org/project/safe-stable-long-term-supporting-lgbtq2s-youth-along-the-housing-continuum