By: Clarissa Huard
According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, 76,998 people experienced homelessness in Chicago throughout 2018. Of those, the number of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness (ages 14-24) in Chicago is around 11,376. With the pandemic creating more barriers and challenges, including unprecedented levels of unemployment, these numbers are likely to have increased in 2020.
Experiencing homelessness is difficult for anyone, but especially for youth who are still in key developmental stages in their lives. LGBTQ+ youth disproportionately experience homelessness compared to non-LGBTQ+ youth. While approximately 7% of youth identify as LGBTQ+, they account for up to 40% of homeless youth. A study published by Chapin Hill at the University of Chicago in 2017 found that LGBTQ+ youth have a 120% higher risk of homelessness than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. They also found that Black youth faced an 83% greater risk of homelessness, and Hispanic non-white youth faced a 33% higher risk compared to their White counterparts. From this data, we can see that youth who are experiencing homelessness often face unique and compounded challenges based on their intersecting identities.