Community Engagement & Service

Out of the Closet, Off of the Streets: Understanding Queer Youth Homelessness in San Francisco

Alternative Break San Francisco 2013

The Trip
Over Spring break we will travel to San Francisco, California to learn about the diverse issues faced by homeless queer youth. Prior to the trip we will develop a framework of knowledge surround human rights, queer rights and trans rights in order to effectively examine and understand these circumstances. We will volunteer with local non-profits, shelters, drop-in centers and outreach groups in order to gain perspective on the growing homelessness epidemic. The information and experiences that we gather will be utilized in our return to DC to help serve the homeless queer population in our own home city. 

The Social Justice Issue
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reports that between 20 and 40 percent of America’s 1.6 million homeless youth identify as a member of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community. This can be the result of the fact that 1 in 4 teens are told to leave home the day that they come out to their family. There are fewer services available to the homeless that are accepting and understanding of queer and trans folk providing the disproportionate number of queer young people with significantly less options for assistance.

The City
San Francisco is recognized as a mecca for the queer population, drawing countless tourists to various attractions including the historic Castro district and pride marches. As a result of the city’s status as a “gay capital” many queer youth relocate to San Francisco when they become homeless in search of a more accepting environment. San Francisco’s organizations serving the homeless have created numerous programs, centers and shelters to accommodate the changing demographic of homeless youth.

Student Leaders

Julie Budd is a senior in SPA studying Justice and minoring in Sociology. She co-led the 2012 Winter Alternative Break trip to Guatemala focusing on indigenous rights. She served as Financial Director to the student organization, Queers & Allies and is involved with queer rights advocacy on campus. 

Nicole Wisler is a senior majoring in International Development and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She co-led the 2011 Summer Alternative Break trip to Tamil Nadu, India focusing on Dalit and Women's Rights. She is also a member of Peer Leadership, the Rainbow Speakers Bureau, and the Women's Initiative executive board.

Tentative Itinerary (Subject to change)

March 9
Fly to San Francisco

March 10
Onsite orientation
Tour of areas we’re working in
Group Dinner and Reflection

March 11
Meet with Homeless Youth Alliance
Volunteer at drop-in center
Group Dinner and Reflection

March 12
Service with Larkin Street Youth Services
Lunch and speaker from Larkin
Meet with Lyric Youth Center representative
Group Dinner and Reflection

March 13
Service with Larkin Street Youth Services
Meet with Queers for Economic Equality Now
Group Dinner and Reflection

March 14
Service with Larkin Street Youth Services
Group Dinner and Reflection

March 15
Service with Larkin Street Youth Services
Visit GLBT History Museum
Reflect on trip and brainstorm post-trip activism ideas

March 16
Picnic lunch in the park
Fly to Washington, DC

Location: San Francisco, CA

Dates of Trip: March 9-16, 2013

Student Leaders: Julie Budd and Nicole Wisler

Faculty Advisor: TBD

Cost: $1,100

Cost includes: airfare, transportation, lodging, meals and all activities