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'Lost In America' Is A Heartbreaking Expose Of Youth Homelessness: VIDEO

Lost in America

"My dad hates gays," said one youth in the teaser for the new documentary Lost in America. "My dad's tried to kill me once or twice."

It is estimated that there are between 1.3 and 2.8 million homeless youth in the US, 40 percent of whom identify as LGBT.

5,000 homeless kids die on the streets every year as a result of assault, illness or suicide.

Meanwhile, there are only 5,000 beds available for homeless youth nationwide.

Currently seeking crowdfunding for post production work, watch a trailer for Lost In America, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'Lost In America' Is A Heartbreaking Expose Of Youth Homelessness: VIDEO" »


One Of Nation's Few Homeless Shelters For LGBT Youth Opens Doors In San Antonio, Texas

Homeless

One of the nation's few homeless shelters specifically for LGBTQ youth has opened its doors in San Antonio. 

Thrive Youth Center is a 13-bed, 1,400-square-foot facility — including five individual rooms for transgender youth. 

The center, which will serve LGBTQ youth ages 18-25, was initially scheduled to open last year at a downtown church, but that plan was nixed due to zoning issues. The shelter finally opened last week through a partnership with Haven for Hope, a larger facility serving the general homeless population. 

Texas Public Radio reports: 

WhitleyThrive Executive Director Sandra Whitley (right) said Haven has changed its intake process since Thrive came on board, asking new applicants if they required LGBT services. “And if they check yes, then they call one of us over at our office and we come over and talk to the person and see if they’ll be a fit for our program.” ...

Thrive’s initial mission —getting people back on their feet — is being upheld through Haven’s programs. “The services that we were going to offer, the GED program; the career counseling; the job placement, all those things are now located 25 feet from our door,” said Whitley.

Scott Ackerson, a Vice President for Haven for Hope, said they also found space for certain individuals who did not meet Thrive’s 18-25 age group criteria. “We’ve got the capacity to serve an additional 10 LGBT individuals that don’t necessarily fit within Thrive’s target population,” said Ackerson.

According to Thrive Youth Center's website, 50 percent of homeless youth in San Antonio are LGBTQ, mostly as a result of family rejection. And homeless LGBTQ youth on the street are more than twice as likely to commit suicide as other youth on the street.

Meanwhile, nearly nearly one in three transgender men and women report being turned away from homeless shelters because they are transgender, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. 

Before opening Thrive Youth, Whitley and other founders visited the Ali Forney Center in New York City and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles — two of the only other homeless shelters in the nation for LGBTQ youth. Whitley, whose parents once sent her to a mental hospital because she was gay, sold her business last year so she could run the shelter. 

For more information on the Thrive Youth Center or to make a donation, go here. And to listen to the stories of some of the youth who'll be served by the facility, go here

With any luck, Thrive Youth Center can serve as a model for shelters serving homeless LGBTQ youth across Texas and in other red states — where the facilities are often most needed due to high levels of family rejection.

Watch a video report from last year about plans for the Thrive Youth Center, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "One Of Nation's Few Homeless Shelters For LGBT Youth Opens Doors In San Antonio, Texas" »


Kansas City Homeless Shelter Refuses To House Married Same-Sex Couples Together

CityUnionMission

A Kansas City homeless shelter says it won't house same-sex couples together even if they're legally married in the state of Missouri.

The 90-year-old City Union Mission, in the heart of downtown Kansas City, provides shelter to up to 550 people every night, including families and children.

Dan Doty, City Union Mission's executive director, told The Kansas City Star that the shelter's board has had discussions about housing same-sex couples together over the years but has decided to "stay true to our biblical convictions."

Doty“I knew this day would come, especially when the media would begin asking that question,” Doty said, deeply concerned about what effect the nonprofit’s decision could have on its broad community support and donations. “I truly hope you understand the can of worms this could open.

“…We are a Christian, faith-based organization that really does adhere to biblical standards. Our view is that it (same-sex marriage) is inappropriate. Our intent is not to shelter same-sex couples together.”

The article explains that because City Union Mission is a religiously affiliated organization that receives no government funding, it is not bound by nondiscrimination laws. Doty said City Union Mission will house gays and lesbians individually, but requires transgender people to dress according to their birth sex when they're in the facility.

Same-sex couples who want to be housed together will be referred to other facilities. Representatives from local Salvation Army and Catholic Charities shelters told The Star they will house married same-sex couples together, while another shelter in Topeka said it's still undecided on the issue.

In related news, KSHB Channel 4 reported last week that City Union Mission is facing a $300,000 budget shortfall and is banking on a generous holiday giving season to make up for the deficit. 

But after Sunday's story in The Star about City Union Mission's decision not to house same-sex couples together, the shelter probably shouldn't count on getting much help from the LGBT community or its supporters. 

"So, you discriminate against gays now," Chris Jozwiak wrote on the shelter's Facebook page. "Sounds fine. You'll be doing so without support of my friends and family moving forward. And I'll make sure and pass on the news as often and loudly as possible so others join me. Jesus didn't stop and question people about who they loved before he helped them. You're apparently not worthy."

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article3971676.html#storylink=cthat because

LGBT Youth Face Significant Challenges In Foster Care

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In 2012 the Williams Institute, UCLA’s national think tank, published a study estimating that up to 40% of homeless youths (minors between the ages of 12-17) identified themselves as LGBT. An overwhelming 68% of participants in the study reported having experienced rejection from their families and about 54% were abused as a result of their being LGBT. Moreover, over 80% of the respondents to the study were racial minorities.

More often than not, queer youth across the country make a disproportionate percentage of cities’ homeless populations. Despite that fact many cities, like the District of Columbia, suspect rely on statistical reporting methods that are likely underreporting the actual numbers. Most of the research being done on the makeup of homeless youth populations relies on numbers reported by adoption networks that queer kids are avoiding.

In a study published earlier this week the Williams Institute found that on average, LGBT adoptees were twice as likely to experience poor treatment within the foster care system as compared to their straight-identified peers. Similar to D.C., LA is dealing with an incredibly large homeless queer youth problem and a dangerous shortage on shelters to house the population. The study, according to chief executive of the Los Angeles LGBT Center Lorri L. Jean [pictured below], is the first of many steps necessary to draw attention to a group of at-risk people that are generally invisible.

Jean"We need to know who these kids are because only if we know who they are can we help them," she told the LA Times. "People refer to it as the 'dirty little secret' that there are so many LGBTQ kids in foster care, but nobody's been able to document it."

In addition to publishing statistics that could better inform the ways in which public resources could be better allocated to service the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans youths within Los Angeles,  the authors of the study hope to spread awareness within the youth community that they are not alone.


San Francisco's Massive LGBT Homeless Population Gets Big Assist from LGBTQ Connect: VIDEO

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On October 7, organizers held the first LGBTQ Connect, an event to help the city's LGBT homeless population at the San Francisco LGBT Center.

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In an eye-opening film, filmmaker Marc Smolowitz highlight's the city's homeless problem and the ways that The Mayor's Office of HOPE, Project Homeless Connect, and AIDS Housing Alliance are helping them.

Watch the short film, AFTER THE JUMP...

Connect3

Assisted by sponsorships from Metta Fund, Sass Social Justice Fund of Horizons Foundation, Dignity Fund, Haas, Jr. Foundation, 80 service agencies came together to connect the city's homeless LGBT with organizations that can help them.

Important to think about, especially as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

You can find out how to volunteer at Project Homeless Connect. No word on when the next LGBTQ-specific connect will be held but you can follow on their Facebook page.

Watch the short film, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "San Francisco's Massive LGBT Homeless Population Gets Big Assist from LGBTQ Connect: VIDEO" »


New Trailer for 'Pier Kids: The Life,' the Documentary About NYC's Homeless LGBT Youth of Color: VIDEO

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Last month, we previewed Pier Kids: The Life, the Kickstarter-funded documentary centered on the struggles of LGBT homeless youth of color in New York City.

In preparation for the launching of the Kickstarter campaign on November 1st, a new teaser trailer has been released. Here is the video's description:

Pier Kids: The Life examines the legacy of Stonewall and the Gay Rights Movement it ignited by following the lives of DeSean, Krystal, and Casper, three gay and transgender youth of color who, after being pushed out of their home because of their sexuality, have become homeless on the same street the riots took place more than forty years ago.

Nearly 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT, according to a report conducted last year.

Watch the teaser trailer, AFTER THE JUMP... 

(via joe.my.god)

Continue reading "New Trailer for 'Pier Kids: The Life,' the Documentary About NYC's Homeless LGBT Youth of Color: VIDEO" »


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