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Human Services for Low-Income and At-Risk LGBT Populations

Author: The Williams Institute
Published: 17th Mar 2015 - Updated: 17th May 2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Education and LGBT Publications

Summary: LGBT people may be disproportionately at risk of poor outcomes related to economic security and social well-being compared to the general population.

Main Document

Despite social and legal progress for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States, much about low-income and at-risk LGBT individuals and their participation in federal human service programs remains unknown. In fact, data suggest LGBT people may be disproportionately at risk of poor outcomes related to economic security and social well-being, compared to the general population.

To address this knowledge gap, Mathematica, in partnership with the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, conducted an assessment for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation. The project aims to help identify the current knowledge base and priorities for future research and, ultimately, strengthen services for low-income and at-risk LGBT people.

A report and related issue brief look at LGBT populations' characteristics and interactions with human services and identify data gaps. The project focused on;

Three additional briefs delve into recommendations for future research in these key focus areas: income support and self-sufficiency, child welfare programs, and youth services.

"Overall, our review suggests that LGBT people could benefit from improvements to social services, such as increasing providers' familiarity with the needs and circumstances of LGBT people. We found, however, there is a need for more research to better understand the risks that LGBT people face, whether they encounter barriers in accessing services, and the kinds of interventions that may be effective for them," explained Andrew Burwick, senior researcher at Mathematica and project director.

"We used a variety of methods to conduct the assessment," added Dr. Gary Gates, Blachford-Cooper distinguished scholar and research director, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. "We developed an annotated bibliography on LGBT populations and human services, consulted an expert panel and representatives of ACF program offices, conducted secondary data analyses, completed case studies of providers serving runaway and homeless LGBT youth, and conducted telephone interviews with staff at state and community agencies providing various types of human services to LGBT people."

Overall, the project identified the following key areas for further research:

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• (APA): The Williams Institute. (2015, March 17). Human Services for Low-Income and At-Risk LGBT Populations. Retrieved September 23, 2023 from

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