My findings imply that homeless LGBTQ young adults are very limited in where they can go to find LGBTQ-accepting services. Even though all the shelters that were interviewed claimed they did not discriminate against LGBTQ persons, they do not provide and are not affiliated with services or programs that are considered to be LGBTQ- accepting. Based on the research, shelters would rather have clients conform to their pre-existing structure rather than the shelters conforming to the specific needs of the clients.; The goal of this research is to explore what programs and services are being provided at various homeless shelters in the South Florida area that would appeal to homeless clients who self-identify as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community, if staff and faculty are trained on how to better address LGBTQ specific issues, how often staff receive LGBTQ sensitivity training, what demographic information is being recorded upon client intake and whether or not homeless LGBTQ young adults would feel safe using their facility when receiving social services. Data for this research was collected through brief, confidential telephone interviews with staff members at twenty-five various social service providers throughout the Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties of South Florida. Short interviews were also conducted with two major LGBTQ advocacy groups in Broward and Miami-Dade County. As a result of completing my research, I have found that no shelters in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County provide programs or services that are identified as LGBTQ-friendly. There are a few shelters that are affiliated with the local LGBTQ advocacy groups and will refer LGBTQ clients to these groups for services. Training on cultural diversity is required of all staff members of each social service provider, however in these cultural diversity training sessions, LGBTQ issues are just reviewed and not the main focus of the sessions. In addition to a lack of direct focus on LGBTQ specific issues, these training sessions are infrequent. This research also shows that social services are taking into account demographic information such as race and sex but not really focusing on sexual orientation or gender identity, leaving us with a severe lack of data on where this specific population is going to receive social services.


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Thesis Completion





Donley, Amy


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program



Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

Included in

Sociology Commons