LGBT youth and young adults face homelessness at rates disproportionate to those faced by straight youth and young adults. Even in areas in which acceptance of LGBT people is relatively high, youth and young adults still face rates of homelessness over ten times that of straight youth. Trinity Place Shelter is a “non-sectarian, 10-bed transitional shelter” run by Trinity Lutheran Church on New York’s Upper West Side. The shelter originated in 2005 when Rev. Heidi Neumark responded to the plea of the Metropolitan Community Church of New York and opened the doors of Trinity Lutheran Church to ten LGBT young people for one week during the peak of winter. Within six months, the congregation had voted to open a permanent shelter for LGBT youth in the church’s basement.
Since opening in 2006, Trinity Place Shelter has helped over 250 LGBT young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 become independent. Unlike other shelters for LGBT youth, Trinity Place does not set time limits on how long someone can stay and does not “age out” youth once they turn 21. As a transitional shelter, Trinity Place residents can stay as long as they need as long as they are making progress toward becoming independent.
Trinity Place Shelter: Co-Founders Rev. Heidi B. Newmark (1st from left), Kevin V. Lotz (2nd from left), and Lydie Raschka (3rd from right) following the 2011 Awards ceremony.
In recognition of the important work they do, Trinity Place Shelter is one of seven recipients of this year’s Union Square Awards in the social justice category. GLAAD congratulates Rev. Neumark, shelter director Kevin Lotz, and the Trinity Lutheran Church congregation for their important work in supporting homeless LGBT youth.