Practicing Our Mission: Defining Home for LGBTQ+ Youth in San Francisco

meghan
Apartment List

--

For most of us, our families are the very first homes we have. We understand love and safety through them and we lean on them for support as we begin as adolescents to define who we are. But, what do you do when you begin to discover that defining who you are risks losing the first home you’ve ever had?

June is pride month. In San Francisco, that means celebrations in the Castro, rainbow flags down Market Street, and a march through the city declaring that inclusivity is our trademark. But, for many LGBTQ+ youth, it’s simply another day surviving the street and another night without a bed. Queer youth are 120% more likely to become homeless than their straight peers and in San Francisco alone, 49% of homeless youth identified as being LGBTQ+.

Photo by Josh Wilburne on Unsplash.

However, when we talk about homeless youth, we need to keep in mind that it goes beyond the (extremely real) danger of not having a physical space to call home. Most homeless LGBTQ+ young people become homeless only when living at home is no longer an option; only when that home is taken away from them or proves to be more dangerous than a life on the street. Whether forcibly kicked out, abused, or threatened — many of these young people are losing much more than an address.

Apartment List’s mission statement is that everyone deserves a home they love — but, even more fundamental than that, we believe that all people are deserving of a space they can call their own.

A space where they can safely spend the night.

A space that meets their most basic needs as humans, including that of being accepted for one’s authentic self.

This month, we have an opportunity to show up for a community who too often have been turned away by those who are meant to love them unconditionally. Living an authentic life should not be something anyone feels afraid of. For all of the progress we have made as a society, these statistics show that there are still far too many queer people living in pain and fear. Too many people who are deserving of love and acceptance and instead are being faced with rejection. As a queer person working in tech in San Francisco, I feel a personal responsibility to be helping heal some of the wounds by using my privileges and resources.

This is why Apartment List has partnered with Larkin Street Youth Services for the month of June to create inclusive care packages for LGBTQ+ young people who find their way to the shelter. Larkin Street Youth Services is the largest non-profit provider of services for young people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco and has helped over 75,000 young people. Their impact on these young people’s lives is also huge — three out of four young people who complete programs at Larkin Street leave street life behind.

Larkin Street Youth Services + Apartment List

And while Larkin Street provides resources for all young people, nearly half of who they serve are LGBTQ+. It’s our privilege as a company to work alongside them for Pride. While we can never heal the pain of losing a family, we can hope that by showing up with our time, our money, and our thoughts we show that these young people’s lives are meaningful, they are loved, and they are deserving.

Meghan York is a Product Designer at Apartment List. A New York native, she is now based in San Francisco and is a proud queer woman.

--

--