A new national campaign will focus on sheltering homeless youth, including LGBT youth. The National Coalition for the Homeless and the Ali Forney Center have joined together to launch the National Campaign for Youth Shelter, a collaboration that will build a grassroots campaign to demand a national response to youth homelessness.
The National Campaign for Youth Shelter calls include the following:
- A federal commitment to provide all youths age 24 and under with immediate access to safe shelter, affirming the principle that no young person in the United States should be left homeless in the streets.
- An immediate commitment to add 22,000 beds. (This number corresponds to the number of youths identified in the most recent Point In Time Count of homeless persons conducted by the federal government).
- A more accurate and comprehensive effort to count the number of homeless youth in the nation in order to determine the number of beds that are needed over the next decade.
The campaign is going to hold rallies in New York City and Washington, DC, to launch the campaign as a priority within the LGBT movement. The New York City rally will be held on June 2. Details to come.
LGBT youth are disproportionately over-represented in the homeless youth population, with as many as 40% of the nation's homeless youth being LGBT, while only 5% of the overall youth population is LGBT.
Currently, there are only approximately 4,000 youth shelter beds in the United States, yet as many as 500,000 unaccompanied youths experience homelessness each year.
“It’s indefensible that our nation would abide hundreds of thousands of young people to be homeless and on their own,” says Jerry Jones, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “The National Campaign for Youth Shelter will highlight the urgency of basic emergency shelter as we work toward permanent solutions to this crisis.”
GLAAD is one of the endorsers and supporters for the National Campaign for Youth Shelter, along with over 30 other organizations, including: the Alliance for a Just Society, Campaign for America's Future, Campus Pride, Center for Community Change, Center for Popular Democracy, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Coalition on Human Needs, Covenant House, Empire State Pride Agenda, Family Acceptance Project, Family Equality Council, Gay Men's Health Crisis, Garden State Equality, GLSEN, the Hetrick Martin Institute, Housing Assistance Council, It Gets Better Project, Matthew Shepard Foundation, National AIDS Housing Coalition, National Black Justice Coalition, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Low Income Housing Coalition, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Partnership for Working Families, Rebuild the Dream, the Ruth Ellis Center, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Treatment Action Group, USAction, and You Can Play Project.
“It is unprecedented to have so many LGBT organizations join together with prominent national housing and anti -poverty organizations to fight for the humane treatment of impoverished youths.” says Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center. “With all this support, the National Campaign for Youth Shelter will build a movement to finally prevent youths from being left to suffer homelessness without access to shelter. The wealthiest nation on earth must not allow its youths to be left out in the streets.”