Cincinnati/Hamilton County Is One of Two Communities in the Nation Invited to Participate

CINCINNATI, OH – April 14, 2014 –  Strategies to End Homelessness and Lighthouse Youth Services have been selected to participate  in a National LGBTQ Youth Homeless Prevention Initiative to learn how best to enable communities to combine diverse federal and local resources into a community-wide plan to prevent homelessness for youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ).

The U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness developed the initiative.  Cincinnati and Houston were the only two communities invited to participate.

The federal technical assistance team will be in Cincinnati for a two-day site visit and to support the kick-off event on Monday, April 14 at 3 p.m. at the University of Cincinnati Institute for Policy Research, 225 Calhoun Street, 2nd floor.  Initial findings from a needs assessment will be presented to project partners and stakeholders at today’s meeting.

Lighthouse Youth Services is Hamilton County’s lead for this initiative, in partnership with Strategies to End Homelessness.  Other partners and participants include representatives from Caracole, GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network), The Partnership Center, Mayor Cranley’s Office, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Police Department, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, Heartland Trans* Wellness Group, YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati Human Rights Campaign, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Hamilton County Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Lighthouse Youth Advisory Council.

“Homelessness prevention is the most cost effective strategy for reducing homelessness,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.  “Our goal is to intervene with people who are most at-risk of becoming homeless, and the LGBTQ community is at higher risk than the general population,” he said.

“We know there is an over-representation of LGBTQ youth in our homeless shelters and on the street – this initiative allows us to evaluate data and facilitate greater collaboration between community stakeholders working with youth,” said Bob Mecum, president and CEO of Lighthouse Youth Services.

The Cincinnati and Houston initiatives will inform national strategies and future federal program policy for preventing homelessness among LGBTQ youth.    For more information about the initiative, please contact Meredith Hicks, director of policy and planning at Lighthouse Youth Services at 513-487-7145.

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