The True Colors Fund, a leader in the pursuit to prevent and end youth homelessness, has announced a major rebrand, including a new name, logo, and visual identity. The new name, True Colors United, emphasizes the importance of working together to create an equitable world and reflects the responsibility we have as a society to eliminate the barriers youth experiencing homelessness face in achieving happy and healthy lives.
In the United States, 4.2 million youth experience homelessness each year, with LGBTQ youth 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ peers. Furthermore, up to 40% of all youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ, while only 10% of the general youth population is LGBTQ. Black/African American youth have an 83% higher risk of homelessness, while Hispanic youth have a 33% higher risk. True Colors United has set bold new goals for the future to bring these numbers down. By 2024, the organization aims to:
- Establish and implement LGBTQ inclusion standards for organizations and communities working to address youth homelessness.
- Activate policymakers to center the experiences of LGBTQ youth and youth of color to create equitable policies and practices.
- Establish youth collaboration as an industry standard for youth homelessness work.
- Expand the work of True Colors United internationally, beginning in Europe and Canada.
As they move into their second decade, True Colors United is also expanding their work to help ensure they are preventing and ending homelessness for all disproportionately affected youth, not just those who identify as LGBTQ. They will continue to partner with young people with lived experience of homelessness to ensure they're in positions of power to drive change through their ideas, skills and talents so their peers in the future won't have to experience homelessness.
"As we stand at the crossroads of our first and second decades, we can't help but look back and be proud of what we've accomplished through our collaboration with service providers, policymakers, communities and, most importantly, youth to make sure policies and practices are inclusive, affirming and supportive of LGBTQ young people – but there's still a great deal of work to be done," said Gregory Lewis, Executive Director & CEO of True Colors United. "We are going to continue to shake things up by reexamining and reimagining services and systems so they better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth and all highly impacted young people. If we can ensure services are safe for and affirming of the most impacted young people, we can be confident that they'll be safe and affirming for all youth."
The new brand identity reinforces the organization's commitment to the spirit of collaboration in developing long-term solutions to prevent and end youth homelessness.
Co-founded in 2008 by Cyndi Lauper, True Colors United has transformed the response to youth homelessness in America by ensuring LGBTQ youth are at the heart of the solutions being developed locally and nationally. Over the past decade, True Colors United has:
- Ensured that LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness have access to safe and welcoming care by training thousands of homelessness service providers and staff in communities around the country, assessing and strengthening the inclusivity of their practices, and provided a wide array of tools and resources, including distributing 1,000 Inclusion Toolboxes, to help them create more inclusive spaces and cultures.
- Worked with communities across the country to develop and implement long-term plans to prevent and end youth homelessness that are inclusive of LGBTQ youth, including partnering with the Federal Government on a groundbreaking initiative to pilot methods to prevent LGBTQ youth from experiencing homelessness in Houston and Cincinnati.
- Played a lead role in securing annual funding of $250 million from Congress for the Federal Government to invest in up to 71 communities around the country to develop solutions to end youth homelessness, and in 2018, launched the State Index on Youth Homelessness, a first-of-its-kind resource assessing all 50 states and Washington, DC on their work to end youth homelessness, and providing recommendations for improvement.
- Developed the leadership skills of over 100 youth with lived experience of homelessness, helped establish over 25 Youth Action Boards across the country, and co-founded the National Youth Forum on Homelessness – the country's only youth-led advocacy body dedicated to preventing and ending youth homelessness.
"I'm so proud of everything we've accomplished together over the past 10 years, but we've got to keep going. As a mother – and as someone who experienced homelessness in my youth – I can't stand by as millions of young people go through the same thing in a country with as much promise and prosperity as ours," said Cyndi Lauper, Co-founder and Board Member of True Colors United. "We have to solve this issue by working together – especially with youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness. It's our responsibility – not only as an organization, but as society – to stand with these young people so they live in a world where they are celebrated for being their authentic and true selves."
The new branding is a result of a year-long project conducted with Publicis New York, who developed the new identity through extensive research, creative development, and close collaboration with True Colors United's leadership and staff. In addition to the new name, the bold, colorful, and flexible visual identity embodies the organization's collaborative spirit and the diverse communities it serves. The resulting identity system is one that reflects both the organization's heritage and its expanding mission as it enters its second decade.
Carla Serrano, Chief Strategy Officer, Publicis Groupe and CEO, Publicis New York, commented, "True Colors United is committed to preventing and ending youth homelessness, and we are honored to work with Cyndi and her team. We hope the new design and identity capture the spirit of True Colors United as they embark on their second decade of preventing and ending this important issue."
The organization will continue its commitment to raising awareness during the annual #TrueColorsDay on April 24, at the True Colors Impact Summit on September 4-5, and at the annual Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays concert in December.
True Colors Fund Policy Director Justin Rush Addresses Congress on Youth Homelessness
On February 13, Justin Rush, the True Colors Fund’s Director of Public Policy, testified in front of the United States House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services. The hearing provided the Committee, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters, insight into the scope of homelessness in America and the work being done to end it. The hearing was the very first hearing of the 116th Congress & the first ever full Committee hearing on homelessness! Six experts shared knowledge about topics ranging from veterans homelessness to affordable housing. This group of witnesses also included Ann Oliva, Senior Policy Advisor to the CEO at the Corporation for Supportive Housing and member of our Board of Directors.
Justin’s testimony focused on youth homelessness, highlighting the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people and youth of color. You can read the full text here. He speaks at 3:50 into the over 3 hour hearing (TrueColorsUnited).
We also get this wonderful interview with Cyndi from 60 Minutes Australia where she talks about, well, everything, including her work with True Colors Fund, now True Colors United.