US: San Francisco to launch its first ever support event for homeless LGBT people

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

San Francisco is set to launch its first ever support event for homeless LGBT people, enabling them to access medical, dental, employment, and housing services in a one-day walk-in convention.

The event, dubbed LGBTQ Connect, will be held on October 7.

Its launch comes after findings in June that revealed among the city’s homeless population, 29% identified as LGBT – nearly twice the 15.4% of San Francisco residents in general, as estimated by the Williams Institute.

Officials said these figures posed a serious problem for the city, demanding urgent attention.

Mayor Ed Lee said: “We are building on models that we know work, and the Project Homeless Connect model will help connect the LGBTQ homeless population to targeted services that they need.”

Bevan Dufty, the mayor’s advisor on homelessness, also said he believes that LGBTQ Connect will be the first of its kind in the nation.

“In other parts of the country you find that a lot of homeless people are youths, but in San Francisco our numbers are consistently high across the board – LGBT young, adults and seniors,” he said. “That is a big factor here setting us apart.”

LGBTQ Connect will be held at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street, from 10am to 3pm.

In June, Mary Howe of Haight Ashbury Youth Alliances said the over-representation of LGBT people among the homeless was partly due to teens being kicked out of their homes by homophobic or transphobic family members.

“A lot of them just want to go somewhere where they’re more accepted. Most of them leave with very little, and they make communities out of who they meet on the street,” she said.

Jennifer Heidenbach of the Coalition for Homelessness warned that more specialist centres were needed to deal with LGBT homeless people.

“What we get from this is that homelessness is a queer issue,” she said. “And when we look at our system, it’s not particularly gay-friendly.”