267184 How Important is Cultural Competency in Service Provision to Homeless and Marginally Housed, Gender-Variant Youth?

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Chadwick Campbell, MPH , Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Luis Gutierrez-Mock, MA , Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, UCSF, Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, San Francisco, CA
Cynthia Flock, MPH , Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University, Oakland, CA
Kathryn Albergate, MPHc , Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Background: Despite comprising only 10% of California's population, LGBTQ youth represent 40% of homeless and marginally housed youth in San Francisco. Unique challenges in their lives including: systemic homophobia and trans-phobia; poverty; and trauma as a result of having lived in abusive environments may lead to low self-esteem, isolation, and depression and a need to seek community services to meet basic needs. Increasingly, it is imperative that organizations are equipped to address the diversity in culture, identity, and life experience that exist among gender variant youth.

Methods: Twenty-one homeless and marginally housed, gender variant youth, ages 18-24 years old participated in an assessment conducted to analyze characteristics of places where homeless and marginally housed gender variant youth in San Francisco feel a sense of belonging. Participants were recruited from two LGBT youth-serving community based organizations and participated in photovoice, a focus group, and individual interviews in San Francisco from June July 2011.

Findings: Many factors influence youths' sense of belonging and willingness to access services. One important factor was cultural competence on the part of agencies and staff. Youth participants highlighted three cultural competencies: (1) Trans-competency; (2) Youth-competency; and (3) Homeless-competency that are equally important to service provision in their communities.

Conclusion: Social and health service agencies must create environments that honor, provide support for, and both administratively and programmatically address issues specific to age, gender, and experiences of homelessness. Lacking cultural competency in these areas creates a barrier to accessing services for these youth.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. List at least three cultural competencies important to service provision for homeless and marginally housed, gender-variant youth. 2. Describe at least one strategy that organizations can employ to meet each of these three cultural competencies. 3. Discuss how a lack of these specific cultural competencies can act as barriers to accessing services for homeless, gender-variant youth.

Keywords: Youth, Gender

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Project Director on two federally funded grants focused on HIV prevention and Behavioral interventions with MSM, and transwomen. My interests include the social determinants and contextual factors that influence HIV risk behaviors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.