New research ties housing instability to poor mental health in LGBTQ+ youth

Homelessness or housing instability among LGBTQ+ youth runs rampant, and is likely connected to mental health challenges like depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation that young LGBTQ+ people face at elevated rates, according to new research from the Trevor Project.

Nearly 30 percent of LGBTQ+ youth have experienced homelessness or unstable housing at some point in their lives, including nearly half of Native or Indigenous LGBTQ+ youth, according to a report published Thursday. 

Homelessness and housing instability were reported at higher rates among transgender and nonbinary youth, including 38 percent of transgender girls and women, 39 percent of transgender boys and men, and 35 percent of nonbinary youth, compared to 23 percent of cisgender LGBQ+ youth.


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According to the report, 35 percent of LGBTQ+ youth who are homeless and 28 percent of LGBTQ+ youth who have experienced housing insecurity also reported a suicide attempt in the last year, compared to 10 percent of LGBTQ+ youth who are not housing insecure.

Unhoused LGBTQ+ youth are also up to four times as likely to report depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, according to the report, which examines the experiences of nearly 10,000 LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 to 24.

“LGBTQ youth are overrepresented among young people experiencing homelessness and this report makes clear that we desperately need more resources to confront the overlapping crises of housing instability and suicide,” Jonah DeChants, one of the study’s authors and a research scientist at the Trevor Project, said in a statement.

“We all have a role to play in fostering acceptance of LGBTQ youth, which on a basic level, will help address driving factors for LGBTQ youth homelessness, such as anti-LGBTQ discrimination, victimization, and family rejection,” DeChants said. “As LGBTQ youth are also impacted by their families’ and communities’ economic stability, effective anti-poverty economic policies need to be implemented to increase LGBTQ youths’ access to safe and secure housing.”


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