We are excited to announce a new ongoing impact partnership with True Colors United (TCU)! Highly aligned with Cotopaxi’s goal of alleviating poverty, TCU aims for LGBTQ youth, youth of color, and other highly impacted groups.
Central to our mission of fighting extreme poverty is the need to understand the unique variables that drive individuals into a state of poverty. As we know through our work with global refugee organizations, people being forced into refugee status is one of the biggest causes of the rising global poverty rate. A separate but interrelated piece of this phenomenon is being forced into a state of homelessness. While being unhoused and living in poverty are by no means always accordant with each other, there is a far greater likelihood that someone experiencing homelessness will also end up living below the poverty line.
While this may seem like a fairly simple throughline, homelessness is statistically much more likely to occur within marginalized communities. In fact, LGBTQ youth are nearly 120% more likely to experience youth homelessness than a child that does not identify as LGBTQ. There are a number of factor that come into play, including family dynamics and discrimination in the workplace. By partnering with TCU, we aim to create a long term partnership that focuses on supporting LGBTQ inividuals and hope to further our efforts to create a more inclusive outdoor space.
True Colors United was co-founded in 2008 by Cyndi Lauper. They implement innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of young LGBTQ people. Through a broad array of training and education, youth action, technical assistance, and advocacy programs, True Colors United is creating a world where all young people can be their true selves.
TCU uses a four-pronged approach to implement long-term solutions to end LGBTQ youth homelessness. These solutions include:
Advocacy throughout all levels of government from federal to local in order to create protections for youth experiencing homelessness. These protections are made to be accessible without fear of discrimination and violence.
Training and education is improved within shelters to make programming more inclusive and affirming. This includes inclusive programming for LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ training for staff, and how to use cues like safe space signage to make physical spaces more inclusive.
Youth Action is promoted by TCU’s efforts to consider LGBTQ youth who have experienced homelessness homeless LGBTQ youth the experts of their experience. They provide an opportunity for affected members of the community to make a difference and take on a leadership role.
TCU offers Technical Assistance by working directly within affected communities. They work as a liaison between shelters and local government. Currently, TCU is working directly with 77 different communities to implement community wide change.
Cotopaxi will be supporting TCU as they grow their programming in Latin America specifically, as well as supporting programs here in the US. Though TCU approaches these issues with a mindset of opportunity, individual agency and positivity, it’s important to illustrate the scope of of the problems they’re dedicated to solving:
- An estimated 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ
- Homeless LGBTQ youth most commonly state that rejection of their sexual orientation lead them to homelessness. Other common areas cited include family issues, aging out of foster care, abuse, and poverty at home.
- Nearly 99% of all service providers report working with LGBTQ youth.
- Not only do LGBTQ youth have similar needs to their peers—housing, employment, healthcare, and education—but they also have the unique need of acceptance and emotional support.
- On average, medical professionals have reported that homeless LGBTQ youth are in worse mental and physical health than their peers
Again, we couldn’t be more excited to bring on TCU as a partner and if you want to learn more or donate directly, visit TrueColorsUnited.org to learn more.