For trans and gender-nonconforming youth, there’s the ongoing efforts of Larkin Street Youth Services to provide housing and other supportive elements, including medical care, food assistance, and employment and education programs.
“A high percentage of LGBTQ young people experience homelessness because of family or community rejection. They’re not able to stay with their parents, guardians or whoever they were living with or in school or other places where they might be experiencing discrimination or bullying and it may not be a safe place,” said Sherilyn Adams, Larkin Street’s chief executive officer, in a phone interview.
At one point, one of Larkin Street’s youth initiative sites was solely for trans youth; the program has since morphed into additional sites and slightly smaller housing units to better accommodate LGBTQ+ youth residents’ particular needs and preferences, Adams said.
As Adams, a lesbian, explained, “Depending on the number of trans youth that we have in housing at any one point, then folks can have a little bit more flexibility about if they want to be with all trans youth or if they want to be in a different sort of mix of folks. We have a broader range of housing options with the congregate and scattered sites.”
As the B.A.R. previously reported, one feature of Breed’s comprehensive plan to end transgender homelessness by 2027 is new permanent, supportive housing for TGNC/LGBTQ+ youth, supported by the Office of Transgender Initiatives (for which the search for a new executive director is underway with Pau Crego officially departing from the role December 15) and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.
Adams expressed enthusiasm for the housing initiative and DHSH’s outreach to community-based organizations to provide services in line with the end trans homelessness initiative and the corresponding Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool program, which includes the capacity-building grant funding amount of $200,000.
“It’s exciting to work toward having a plan, with the mayor’s and city’s commitment to working to end trans homelessness with very specific projects and the new housing initiative for young people. … It’s been a long time coming and a lot of advocacy,” Adams told the B.A.R.