News and Analysis

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 6:10 p.m.

LGBT homeless youth bill gains momentum in D.C. Council

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Laura Porter.

The D.C. Council unanimously supported strengthening protections for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in a bill’s first reading Tuesday.

The bill, co-introduced by Council member and GW Law School professor Mary Cheh, would require all homeless youth shelters in D.C. to provide beds specifically for LGBT youth, and put more money into services.

Devin Ward, Cheh’s spokesman, said the bill will help young residents “bounce back” from homelessness by requiring shelters to engage with the LGBTQ community.

The bill would mandate a census count every five years to determine the number of the city’s homeless LGBT youth.

“Currently we don’t know how many homeless LGBTQ youth are in the District,” Ward said, “which is one of the reasons why this bill is so important.”

The District now has one housing program dedicated to solely that population. The Wanda Alston House, located in Northeast D.C., provides services and housing for LGBT homeless youth ages 16 to 24.

A 2009 report by the National Coalition for the Homeless found that LGBT youth make up about 20 percent of young people who are homeless in the U.S. They can face harsh conditions because of their sexuality and are about 7 times more likely than heterosexual youth to be victims of sexual violence.

A second vote on the bill will be held in February, and would then be up for a signature from Mayor Vincent Gray.

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  • Originality

    You all should focus more on stories directly related to GW. This is the kind of thing anybody can read about in one of the local DC newspapers. There’s no original reporting here. Sure it’s important and all, but this is a school paper. I think we would all appreciate seeing something more relevant to the school in one of the top spots on the website.

  • Alum

    Why didn’t you guys cover a Supreme Court Justice speaking at GW instead? You could have asked her what she thought about Title IX causing discrimination against men in college judicial systems, with GW being an extreme example. You could have made news rather than copying other newspapers or administrators’ press releases like usual.

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