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Housing and homeless guidelines for LGBTQ2S youth released by Alberta government

The guidelines are the first of their kind in Canada

Minister Irfan Sabir made the announcement on Thursday.

Metro File Photo

Minister Irfan Sabir made the announcement on Thursday.

A new resource for the province’s housing and homelessness system is aimed at helping Alberta’s LGBTQ2S youth feel safe and accepted when using services.

In a release from Irfan Sabir, minister of community and social services, he announced the LGBTQ2S Youth Housing and Shelter Guidelines—the first of its kind in Canada.

According to the release, nearly one in three homeless youth in Canada identify as being part of the LGBTQ2S community, and research indicated that these youth are subject to higher rates of discrimination, violence, and abuse when compared to other young people.

Sabir said all Albertans deserve to feel safe and accepted when accessing services and said he knows more needs to be done to help LGBTQ2S youth feel supported when they’re at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

“These new guidelines follow the leadership of Alberta’s LGBTQ2S service providers and help ensure our entire housing and homelessness system is secure and inclusive for everyone,” he said.

According to the government, the guidelines were developed through a cross-ministry and community partnership and will help individuals and organizations build relationships of openness and trust with vulnerable youth by ensuring confidentiality, providing guidance to staff on how to create respectful and inclusive environments and providing information about LGBTQ2S-friendly language.

They also ensure organizational policies and housing and shelter spaces support this population by guiding staff through implementing open, unbiased intake processes and facilitating referrals to inclusive services and supports.

In addition, the guidelines provide a better understanding of LGBTQ2S terminology and information on where to find additional resources and examples of how other organizations are succeeding in creating inclusive, safe environments for youth.

Renee Iverson, co-chair, LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness Working Group and manager of the Clinical Services and Program Supports at Homeward Trust Edmonton said these guidelines are the result of collaborative efforts across the province from those focused on ending youth homelessness in Alberta.

“By having the voices of so many partners involved in the process, we now have a sustainable framework and the tools to equip those working with LGBTQ2S youth to eliminate barriers and create paths to move youth forward,” she said.

The guidelines will be shared with agencies and staff across Community and Social Services and Children’s Services who work with youth and will be available to anyone on the Government of Alberta website.

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