Brent Cagle, Ph.D.


Social Work


College of Arts and Sciences


Social Work


LGBTQ, homelessness, emerging adults, couch surfing, resiliency, social capital


Using a qualitative method, this study explored the experiences of emerging adults (ages 18-24) who are LGBTQ and homeless in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg area of North Carolina. Emerging adults who are homeless and identify as LGBTQ are shown to have different health and safety concerns compared to peers. Because of these unique factors, researchers suggest these individuals require specific social services that cater to their needs. Nine face-to-face interviews were conducted which resulted in a total of 9 hours of collected data. In order to ensure that research results are as accurate as possible, grounded theorists suggest that one have at least fifty hours of collected data (Charmaz, 2006). Therefore, this study uses a grounded theory method as a guide to explore the experiences of emerging adults who identify as LGBTQ and are homeless. Questions in this study were designed to explore participants’ experiences with community-based outreach services and their overall experience with homelessness. This paper addresses three major themes found within the data: unsafe shelter conditions for LGBTQ individuals, couch surfing, and resiliency. Participants who had access to organizations such as RAIN (REGIONAL AIDS INTERFAITH NETWORK) which provided social support systems, were in college, and living a healthy lifestyle. Data suggests that those with a strong social capital are more likely to be successful (in their definition of the word).

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