“SAFE & SUPPORTED” PLAN TO PREVENT LGBTQ YOUTH HOMELESSNESS IN OUR COMMUNITY
Cincinnati/Hamilton County Develops Pilot as One of Only Two Communities Invited to Participate Nationally
Plan to be Presented at Today’s First-Ever National Summit on the Issue in New York City
CINCINNATI, OH – Sept. 30, 2014 – After announcing selection to participate in a National LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative in April and hosting a community forum in July, Lighthouse Youth Services and Strategies to End Homelessness have partnered with a coalition of community leaders to plan how the community will address the issue of LGBTQ youth homelessness in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
LGBTQ youth are dramatically over-represented in the homeless youth population, yet there are too few systems and services designed to meet their needs. Community organizers are committed to increasing awareness of issues contributing to LGBTQ youth homelessness and have a plan to prevent homelessness among all youth, while making sure all gay and transgender youth in Hamilton County are safe and supported.
The National LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative is being led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and piloted in Cincinnati and Houston, the only two communities invited to participate. The True Colors Forty to None Summit, in NYC on Sept. 30, will be the first cross sector national discussion on LGBTQ youth homelessness, and Lighthouse Youth Services leaders will participate to present our community’s local plan.
The “Safe & Supported” plan to prevent homelessness for LGBTQ youth in Hamilton County will facilitate greater local collaboration among organizations that serve youth, improve the quality of interventions and connect youth to resources. Specifically, the local “Safe & Supported” team will:
- * Partner with the True Colors Fund to launch a mobile application that will connect LGBTQ homeless youth with local resources, such as emergency shelters, safe public restrooms and LGBTQ welcoming churches.
- * Lighthouse Youth Services Foster Care and Adoption will include assessment and staff training to improve placements and practice with LGBTQ foster youth and families.
- * Facilitate staff trainings on LGBTQ cultural competence and homelessness prevention issues with education staff in multiple school systems through GLSEN and the Human Rights Campaign trainings.
- * Increase the number of LGBTQ-affirming housing options to prevent youth from being “put out” into homelessness.
“Safe & Supported” partners include: Caracole, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Office of Mayor John Cranley, Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Public Schools, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Hamilton County Job and Family Services, Heartland Trans* Wellness Group, Human Rights Campaign, Lighthouse Youth Services, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, Strategies to End Homelessness, The Partnership Center, Truth and Destiny Covenant Ministries, University of Cincinnati LGBTQ Center and YWCA of Greater Cincinnati. True Colors Fund 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 LGBTQ youth are at higher risk of becoming homeless 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. The executive summary for the Hamilton County Safe & Supported Community Plan to Prevent Homelessness for LGBTQ Youth is available online at https://www.strategiestoendhomelessness.org/safe-supported-lgbtq-homeless-youth/ , along with an opportunity to learn more as the community plan takes shape.