This week, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced the Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act to protect children in foster care from ending up on the streets. The bill features a section dedicated to protecting and providing support to LGBT youth.
In a statement, Kerry said preparing for and planning responses to youth homelessness is vital, especially when considering the amount of children that face this challenge.
“As a father, it’s a punch in the gut to imagine children living on the streets, but this year alone, one in fifty American kids will be homeless,” he said. “There are common sense reforms we can implement to help make things better.”
NPR reports that an astounding 40 percent of kids who age out of foster care will become homeless. And according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, out of the 2 million youths who experience homelessness each year, 1 in 5 identify as LGBT.
Because many LGBT youths find themselves homeless because of familial rejection, the bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to create programs that are centered on “reducing dejecting behaviors and increasing supporting behaviors and understanding among families to improve the chances of LGBT youth remaining at home.”
The bill would also make sweeping changes throughout foster care programs, such as keeping kids in the system until they reach 21 years old and creating easier accessibility to funding and education resources.