Why are black, queer and trans youth more at risk for homelessness?

Crosscut archive image.

Last year's Count Us In survey, a daylong census of homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults in King County, found that 32 percent were African-American and 22 percent identified as LGBTQ. Consider now that African-Americans make up only six percent of King County's general population and that nationwide estimates for the LGBTQ population range between four and 10 percent. This disproportionality (or "dispro," as it's known among advocates and service providers) was the topic of a recent Crosscut panel discussion.

So why are black, queer and transgender youth so prone to end up on the streets? That's the question we put to a panel of six experts:

Crosscut archive image.Shannon Perez-Darby, Youth Services Program Director at the Northwest Network

Crosscut archive image.Eleta Wright, PRO Youth Case Manager at Auburn Youth Resources

Sara Rankin, AssoCrosscut archive image.ciate Professor of Lawyering Skills at Seattle University Law School

Crosscut archive image.Megan Gibbard, Homeless Youth and Young Adult Project Manager on the Committee to End Homelessness in King County

Crosscut archive image.Trai Williams, Youth Network Senior Representative at The Mockingbird Society

The conversation was moderated by Crosscut Editor-in-chief Mary Bruno and produced by Steve Scher.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors

Steve Scher

Steve Scher

Steve Scher, former host of KUOW-FM's Weekday, is currently a Scholar in Residence at Town Hall and host of Crosscut's "Elephant in the Room" podcast.