Title

At Risk and Homeless in the United States: How Women and LGBTQ+ Individuals Experience Homelessness

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts

Sponsor

Steven Schoen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Denise Cummings, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Painter, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to expound the experiences of women and LGBTQ+ individuals upon entering, enduring, and exiting periods of homelessness. Through an in-depth literature review on the existing research pertaining to women and the LGBTQ+ community experiencing homelessness, as well as an examination of current legislation and funding distribution, the text presents a thorough structural analysis. This analysis explores the key financial, social, and political structures that affect their experiences and is accompanied by evidence from numerous in-depth interviews with various experts. The interviewees include leaders in the homeless services non-profit sector, an academic whose focus is in the sociology of homelessness, an elected representative for the Florida Legislator, and individuals who either have experienced or are currently experiencing homelessness. The research shows that there are deeply embedded systemic inequities that cause women and LGBTQ+ individuals to experience homelessness differently than a person without these identities. High rates of violence against women and LGBTQ+ people, unreliable funding for women’s and LGBTQ+ services, lack of culturally competent support from institutions such as school and shelters, familial rejection, and systemic financial insecurity all play a role in further disadvantaging homeless women and LGBTQ+ people. It was found that culturally competent care, an expansion of resources (including funding for staff, shelters, counseling, trainings, etc.), and implementing preventative education are the most effective methods to address homelessness for women and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Rights Holder

Lya Dominguez

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