To help spur a quicker end to burgeoning youth homelessness, Cyndi Lauper and the True Colors Fund -- in association with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty -- has released the State Index on Youth Homelessness. Described as a “first-of-its-kind resource,” the study evaluates and rates the efforts being implemented by each state and the District of Columbia to prevent and erase youth homelessness.
“This State Index on Youth Homelessness is a game-changer,” True Colors Fund co-founder Lauper announced during a private breakfast/presentation at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood on Thursday (June 28). “We set out 10 years ago to create tools like the Index to allow everyone to participate in ending homelessness. This isn’t to demonize the states but to empower them to address this issue and find real solutions to a real problem.”
Toward that end -- as the True Colors Fund launches its 10thanniversary celebration this month -- Lauper, the Fund and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty are also asking the public to contact their governors via email and Twitter to improve their state’s index scores. People can do so through via this link: https://truecolorsfund.org/index/.
The statistics concerning youth homelessness are sobering. For instance, 1 in 30 youth ages 13-17 and 1 in 10 young adults 18-25 experience some form of homelessness in the U.S. each year, according to a recent study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. That study also revealed that LGBTQ youth are 120 percent more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ. The latter is an issue that’s also addressed by the State Index, which provides recommendations on how states can attend to the unique needs of LGBTQ youth.
In terms of its state-by-state report card, the Index rated Washington and Massachusetts as the two states providing the best programs designed to protect the safety, development, health and dignity of youth facing homelessness, with respective scores of 65 and 63 out of 100 points. Scoring lowest and tied at 27 points each: Alabama and South Carolina.
View additional findings from the State Index here.
Added Gregory Lewis, executive director and CEO of True Colors Fund,“Even the best states have a ways to go.”
Lewis and Lauper were also joined by Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, established in 1989. Both organizations plan to annually update the State Index and monitor each state’s progress.
Lauper shared that at one point as a youth in the '70s, she stayed in a homeless shelter. “It’s time to bang the drum,” she said. “Together we can change things -- and this is a changeable problem.”