Homeless LGBT Youth Program Featured on PBS' Need to Know

“Being homeless feels like… sort of just… like everybody’s given up on you, like you have nowhere else to go,” Clayton Roberts shared about his past experience on the PBS show Need to Know. At the root of his homelessness he said, “My family didn’t want me there; they didn’t trust me because I was gay.”

In a segment on this week’s Need to Know, the PBS news broadcast examines the epidemic of homelessness that LGBT youth experience. The show explores a program in the Twin Cities that matches homeless LGBT youth with host homes. Rocki Simões, the director of the GLBT Host Home Program, explains that the program is about solidarity, not charity. It is an intentionally small program that connects people with resources to those without.  Often LGBT adults who apply to be hosts are paired  with, as Rocki says, “young people who are ready to live with hosts. At least who are ready to try… It takes a lot of guts to move in with people you don’t know. Especially when so many adults have not been trustworthy.”

The segment takes a broader look at homeless LGBT youth issues: the disproportionately high numbers of LGBT youth who experience homelessness, family rejection that can lead to homelessness, and broader strategies to engage LGBT adults as foster and adoptive parents as part of an ongoing solution.

At the heart of the feature is the story of one young person, Roberts, and the family he found through the Host Home program and his host, Sara Nemecheck. The hosts don’t receive any financial compensation. Sara shares her motivation for hosting, saying, “I had come out fairly early in my life, my early teens. And at that time it wasn’t well accepted by my family or my surroundings. Looking back at it, at this stage of my life, realizing that I might have made better choices if I had had a safe place or a place that I felt I was being accepted and could be me; to move forward in my life. So I wanted to give that opportunity to somebody else.”

In response to a question about what he’s learned from Sara, Roberts’ answer is simple, “The main one would have to be, love. That you don’t have to be blood to actually care about somebody. You don’t have to be related."

GLAAD applauds PBS’ Need to Know program for addressing LGBT youth homelessness and sharing the stories of people who have participated in the Minnesota GLBT Host Home program.

Catch the entire segment below:

Watch Feels like home on PBS. See more from Need to Know.