Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grantees. B. Site Selection and Characteristics


In selecting study sites, we aimed to identify federally funded RHY programs that provide a range of services, operate in different regions of the country, and have experience serving LGBTQ youth. We used three main criteria to identify potential case study sites:

  1. Receipt of RHY funding. Because the study focuses on HHS-funded service providers, we included only agencies that had received RHY basic center, transitional living, or street outreach grants in 2012.
  2. Participation in the HYPS.6 We limited candidates to agencies that responded to the HYPS. This narrowed the number of potential sites and increased access to data about each site. In addition, participation in the survey signaled that at least one person at each agency was interested in issues facing LGBT-identified homeless youth.
  3. Experience serving LGBTQ youth. To ensure we could address questions regarding approaches to serving LGBTQ-identified youth, we aimed to identify sites with relevant experience. We established two indicators of this experience: (1) the agency offers services expressly for LGBTQ-identified youth and/or (2) the agency reported in the HYPS that it serves LGBTQ youth.

In addition to the screening criteria, we specified agency characteristics that would help us assess whether sites varied in ways that might influence an agency’s service approaches and the challenges it faces in serving LGBTQ youth. These characteristics included the agency’s size in terms of staff and budget, types of services provided, and geographic location. Drawing on a variety of information sources, including the HYPS and agency websites, we developed a list of 10 potential sites.

After consultations with ASPE and OPRE, as well as discussions with representatives of the RHY Program and advocacy organizations that focus on homeless youth, we selected four sites for inclusion in the study. The selection of the four sites prioritized (1) diversity among the agencies in size, reported proportion of youth served who are LGBTQ, and urban or rural service area; (2) inclusion of some agencies that had not participated in previous studies of RHY providers; and (3) inclusion of all three types of RHY Program grantees.

Table I.1 summarizes characteristics of the study sites. (Appendix A includes a brief profile of each site.) The group includes agencies with urban and rural service areas in four states: Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas. The agencies employ from 19 to 65 staff members and serve from 157 to as many as 2,550 youth annually. One agency receives RHY Program funding for basic center services, two for transitional living, and two for street outreach. The share of clients identified as LGBTQ ranges widely, from 5 to 28 percent. (These figures, based on staff estimates or agency reports, were not always consistent with the data provided in response to the HYPS or reported to RHYMIS; we present percentages reported by program staff or in program documents.) Two of the agencies offer services designed specifically for LGBTQ homeless youth: a host home program and a designated LGBTQ case manager.

Table I.1. Characteristics of Study Sites

Agency Name Location Annual Budget (FY 2012)a,c Services Offered RHY Program Funding (2012) Number of Youth Served (FY 2012) Percentage of Clients Identified as LGBTQa LGBTQ-Specific Services
Avenues for Homeless Youth Minneapolis, MN $1.0 million Emergency shelter, transitional living Transitional living ($175,000) 157c 25 to 28b LGBT host home program
Central Texas Youth Services Bureau Belton, TX $1.3 million Emergency shelter, transitional living, maternity group home, independent living, street outreach, employment/ education, drop-in center, hotline
Transitional living, maternity group home, and street outreach
Up to 5,000
(200 to 500 in shelter/ housing)b
2 to 5b None
Daybreak Dayton, OH $3.8 million Emergency shelter, transitional living, group home, street outreach, employment/education, hotline, mental health services
Basic center, transitional living, and street outreach
(354 in shelter/ housing)c
10 to 20b,c None
Urban Peak Denver, CO $4.2 million Emergency shelter, transitional living, permanent housing, street outreach, employment/education, drop-in center Basic center and street outreach ($237,000)
(574 in shelter/ housing)c
15c Designated LGBTQ case manager, social/ recreational activities

Sources: Agency documents and site visits conducted April to June 2013.

aAll programs.

bStaff estimate.

cReported in agency’s annual or evaluation report.

FY = fiscal year; LGBTQ = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning.

6 The Homeless Youth Provider Survey (HYPS), conducted by the Williams Institute, gathered information from 354 organizations nationwide on their experiences working with homeless LGBTQ youth.


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