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Over One Quarter Of San Francisco's Homeless Identify As LGBT

For the first time ever, the San Francisco Human Services Agency surveyed a sample of the city's homeless population about their sexual orientation and the results are startling. Of the 1,000 surveyed, 29 percent said they were gay, bisexual or transgender, which is about twice as high as the percentage of the residents in the city overall. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

SfThe numbers suggest that more effort may need to go toward providing special services - such as beds set aside for LGBT people in shelters or social workers with special training in LGBT issues - to get gay people off the street and into temporary, and eventually permanent, housing, homeless advocates said.

"It's great to finally have these numbers. What we get from this is that homelessness is a queer issue," said Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness. "And when we look at our system, it's not particularly gay-friendly."

She's talked to gay and lesbian people who experienced homophobia in homeless shelters, and she said that transgender people staying in shelters experience abuse at "three times the rate" of straight people.

Friedenbach noted that the city is hoping to provide 24 new shelter beds set aside for LGBT people this year. 


Cyndi Lauper And Adam Lambert Belt Out 'Mad World:' VIDEO

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Cyndi Lauper and Adam Lambert took the stage to sing Tears for Fears' classic "Mad World" at the holiday fundraiser for Lauper's True Colors campaign, a movement aimed at combating LGBT homelessness.

Watch Andy Cohen introduce Lauper and Lambert, who then do their thing, AFTER THE JUMP.

[Video via JMG]

Continue reading "Cyndi Lauper And Adam Lambert Belt Out 'Mad World:' VIDEO" »


White House Names Ali Forney Founder Carl Siciliano 'Champion Of Change'

CarlSicilianoA hearty congratulations to Carl Siciliano, the executive director and founder of NYC's Ali Forney Center, a homeless shelter and center for LGBT youth. It was just announced this morning that the White House has selected Siciliano as a Champions of Change Fight Against Youth Homelessness. The awards ceremony will take place on July 12th.

"It is thrilling that as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Ali Forney Center, we are also being recognized by the White House for our pioneering work on behalf of homeless LGBT youth," Siciliano said in a statement.

More from Siciliano:

When we opened the Ali Forney Center, the challenges we faced were daunting; there was very little awareness of the plight of homeless LGBT youth, especially on the federal level, and it was difficult to obtain support for our work.

I am very grateful to President Obama for recognizing the needs of homeless LGBT youth and incorporating their care into his vision of ending youth homelessness. I am also grateful to the White House for recognizing the quality, innovation, and  importance of the Ali Forney Center, which is a testament to all of the individuals who have served on the board, staff and as volunteers.

Hopefully the award will bring more attention to Siciliano's crusade. Demand for beds at the center has skyrocketed in recent years. To help alleviate the crush, the Ali Forney Center and their allies have launched the Campaign for Youth Shelter, which is asking the city and New York state for $3 million in funding that will help accommodate LGBT youth who are struggling on the street.


CBS On Homeless LGBT Teens: VIDEO

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On Friday, Miami's CBS affiliate aired a segment on the plight of homeless LGBT teens -- and floated the fascinating and frightening idea that a recent increase in the number of such teens has to do with the earlier and earlier ages at which teens are coming out of the closet. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "CBS On Homeless LGBT Teens: VIDEO" »


Queer Rising to Protest Cuomo, Demand More Beds for LGBTQ Homeless Youth

Activist Group Queer Rising will stage a demonstration today in front of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office, demanding more beds and shelter for homeless LGBTQ and other youth:

HomelessJoin the Coalition behind the CAMPAIGN FOR HOMELESS YOUTH and QUEER RISING on January 17, 2012 at 4:30pm in-front of NY Gov.Cuomo's Office in Midtown to DEMAND an increase in funding for Homeless Shelter Services and Beds!

40% of homeless youth in New York identify as being LGBTQ. Since 2008, Mayor Bloomberg has cut the budget to Homeless Youth Services (HYS) by at least 50%. Last year, Governor Cuomo also cut the HYS budget by 50%.

We are demanding that an additional $3 million be added to the budget, which will provide an additional 100 beds, every year until all our youth have adequate shelter. Governor Cuomo will release his 2012 budget proposal by January 20th, at the latest.

As a second “A Box Is Not A Home” action, Queer Rising will hold this action in front of Governor Cuomo's office demanding that the $3 million be included in the 2012 budget. We will continue to advocate for our youth, we will not go away, Marriage Equality is not the only issue we care about.


LGBT and Homeless for the Holidays

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Carl Siciliano on the plight of homeless LGBT youth in NYC over the holidays, and beyond:

Alas, there has been little political will to protect these kids. In New York City there are merely 250 youth shelter beds funded by the city and state, though there are 3,800 homeless kids, 40 percent of whom are LGBT. Both Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg have sent the distressing message that these kids do not have any right to be sheltered, with the governor having cut New York State support for youth shelter beds by 50 percent in the last year, and the mayor having repeatedly attempted to cut youth shelter funds in half, as well. How fitting that these kids, whose desperate conditions speak so profoundly of unjust economic priorities, so frequently found refuge with the Occupy Wall Street movement when they could not find a shelter bed.

To be a homeless LGBT youth in New York City means battling the cold, desperate to find somewhere warm and dry at night, knowing it would be a catastrophe if your shoes and clothes get wet. It means being exhausted, suffering chronic sleep deprivation as you try with little success to rest on the subways and train stations and on the streets. It means being terrified, afraid that the police will kick you out of the subway cars and train stations, afraid of violence when you have to sell your body, afraid that you will be beaten or robbed while trying to sleep on park benches or under bridges. To be a homeless LGBT youth in New York City all to frequently means being hungry, forsaken, alone, brutalized.

A slideshow featuring some of these kids is up at the HuffPost.

Click HERE for more information on the Campaign for Youth Shelter and the Ali Forney Center.


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