Two organizations are prepared to highlight the problem of homeless LGBTI teenagers.
The collaboration hopes to bring increased attention to youth homelessness and inadequate shelter options.
‘It’s indefensible that our nation would abide hundreds of thousands of young people to be homeless and on their own,’ Jerry Jones, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, said in a statement. ‘The National Campaign for Youth Shelter will highlight the urgency of basic emergency shelter as we work toward permanent solutions to this crisis.’
According to numbers, provided by GLAAD press release, there are approximately 4,000 youth shelter beds in the US. However, ‘as many as 500,000 unaccompanied youths experience homelessness each year.’
Gay and lesbian youth are disproportionately over-represented in that population. While only 5% of teenagers are LGBTI, 40% of homeless teens are gay.
Thirty other LGBTI advocacy organizations, including GLAAD, Empire State Pride Agenda, Family Acceptance Project, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, It Gets Better Project, and Matthew Shepard Foundation are endorsing the new initiative.
‘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,’ Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center,’ said in a statement. ‘The wealthiest nation on earth must not allow its youths to be left out in the streets.’
Ali Forney is New York City advocacy organization for homeless LGBTI teens.
Rallies are planned in New York City and Washington, DC to highlight the plan as an important plank of the gay equality movement.
The gathering in New York will be on 2 June.