Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grantees. Daybreak


Mission The mission of Daybreak is to eliminate youth homelessness in Ohio’s Miami Valley through comprehensive and results-oriented programs that provide safety and stability for runaway, troubled, and homeless youth
Services/Programs Street outreach, emergency shelter, transitional housing, group home, education and employment assistance, crisis hotline, and mental health services
Service Area Miami Valley, Ohio, including the city of Dayton
Target Population(s) RHY and youth at risk of becoming homeless, ages 10 to 21 (up to 24 for some programs)
Annual Budget $3.86 million in FY 2011–2012, including $525,000 in federal RHY funding for basic center, street outreach, and transitional living services
Number of Youth Served Annually 2,246 in FY 2011–2012
Percentage of Youth Identifying as LGBTQ 10 to 20 percent (based on agency evaluation report and staff estimate); no separate estimate of the percentage of youth identifying as transgender
Organizational Strategies for Serving LGBTQ Youth

Daybreak has implemented the following strategies:

  • Safe and inclusive environment. “Safe Zone” signs and other materials are posted to communicate the agency’s philosophy of valuing diversity and nondisrimination. Staff reported that they intervene quickly to address issues or conflicts among youth that are related to sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Nondiscrimination/nonharassment policy. Daybreak maintains a written nondiscrimination policy that is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Protection of confidentiality. Daybreak staff ensure the confidentiality of all client information, as regulated by state and federal laws. Staff do not disclose information about a youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity without written permission from the youth.
  • Staff training/cultural competency. Staff receive regular training that includes LGBTQ-related topics such as LGBT community issues, local LGBT resources, and the use of culturally appropriate language.
  • Recruitment and hiring practices. During staff hiring processes, staff communicate that the agency is supportive of LGBTQ youth and employs LGBTQ-identified staff.
  • Connections to LGBTQ organizations. Daybreak actively maintains partnerships with organizations that offer LGBTQ-related services.
Services Tailored for LGBTQ Youth

LGBTQ youth are referred to an LGBTQ-identified staff member who connects them with appropriate services in the community and serves as a resource for other staff on LGBTQ issues. Other services are tailored as follows:

  • Housing. Daybreak offers all youth single rooms in its emergency shelter and transitional housing. These facilities help address safety issues and potential concerns among LGBTQ (and non-LGBTQ) youth regarding accommodations segregated by gender.
  • Physical and mental health. To the extent that LGBTQ youth require services specifically related to sexual orientation or gender identity, staff work to connect them to local providers with the appropriate expertise. In addition, HIV testing is offered to all youth quarterly.
  • Employment assistance. Daybreak’s partner agency (Goodwill Easter Seals) seeks out LGBTQ-friendly employment opportunities for youth.
  • Family acceptance and reunification. Staff work with youth and families to the extent that youth wish to engage with their families. Issues of acceptance and understanding of sexual orientation or gender orientation can be addressed in these services.

Sources: Agency documents and site visit conducted in June 2013.

FY = fiscal year; LGBTQ = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning; RHY = runaway and homeless youth

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