The 2006 State of the Homeless, prepared by the Coalition for the Homeless, reported the record rise of homelessness in New York City. It particularly noted the increase in the number of children seeking shelters in the city and that the average number of children in NYC shelters each night amounts to 13,616.
Based on surveys from LGBT sources, about 40% of homeless youth are LGBT youth. Although there could be a difference between children and youth in terms of their definitions, this means roughly 5,000 LGBT youth will be on the street or in shelters in NYC tonight.
Late last year, I went to a meeting of organizations that provide shelters to LGBT homeless youth in NYC. Actually there are only two organizations (The Ali Forney Center and Sylvia's Place) in the entire city and they only offer less than 25 beds (as of end last year). As a result, most of the LGBT homeless youth end up in other shelters that accommodate primarily straight, adult homeless individuals; but there have been some incidents in some shelters where LGBT homeless youth were physically abused/raped by other homeless individuals in the shelters and even by staff members of the shelters.
But, what is more surprising is the fact that there has been a minimal level of support to LGBT homeless youth from the LGBT Community itself. While LGBT adults should know a variety of hardships that LGBT youth often need to endure, such as rejection and violence perpetrated by families, peers and teachers, it is very ironic that they do not pay much attention to this issue; rather it seems they tend to put more efforts in "hot" issues like gay marriage these days.