North Philly preparing safe house for LGBT Youth

Recently the Philadelphia Daily News shared the story of two friends, Lisa Sipes and Rusty Doll, who renovated a house in North Philadelphia to be used as a safe house for LGBT teens.

"When you are a teenager and you are relying on the financial and emotional support of your family         and you don't get it, where do you go and who do you have?"asked Sipes, 32. "We just want to give them a place to go."

Sometimes it's not even the parents, it's the shunning of the parents' family and friends that can make it happen," Doll said.

Doll, who works at a mental-health facility in New Jersey, purchased the North Philly rowhouse hoping to rehabilitate it and make some rent off it. Then he met a young, gay man in Philadelphia named Charles, whose plans to attend fashion school in Philadelphia had fallen apart. Charles - who could not be reached for comment - shared a secret with Doll that stuck with him as he slowly worked on his rental home.

"I asked him where he lived, and he said he lived in a shelter," Doll said. "Charles is why I changed my mind."

Tiq Milan, a spokesman for GLAAD, said that's important because LGBTs often are harassed even in homeless shelters.

"There's a reason it's so important to have these safety structures, to have spaces that are exclusively for them," he said.

The LGBT community, specifically young adults from the ages of 18-21 face homelessness. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless' site 20% of homeless youth are LGBT. Also, once homeless LGBT youth are at higher risk for sexual abuse, mental health issues, and unsafe sexual practices. 58.7% of LGBT homeless teens have been sexually victimized, in comparison to the 33.4% of heterosexual homeless teens.

Read the full story at Philadelphia Daily News