US: Cincinnati groups submit plans to tackle gay teen homlessness
A coalition of Cincinnati organisations are seeking approval for plans to tackle the problem of homelessness among LGBT youths across the US.
The plan – backed by Cincinnati Police Department, Lighthouse Youth Advisory Council and Young Women’s Christian Association – will increase support for LGBT youth surrounding education, employment and well-being, in addition to better screening and data collection.
While 5-7% of youth across the US are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, it is estimated that up to 40% of homeless teens are LGBT.
President of Lighthouse Youth Services (LYS) Bob Mecum told the Cincinnati Enquirer: “We’ve worked with tens of thousands of youth over 40-plus years, and there has always been an over-representation of GLT youth”.
Tevin Brunner, who found himself homeless as a gay teen, aid he slept in recycling bins, under bridges, on rooftops and in stairwells after emerging from foster care.
He said: “Cincinnati deserves to be a national model. I thought I was going to be homeless forever until I moved here. Then I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Executive director of Strategies to End Homelessness Kevin Finn, told the Cincinnati newspaper that: “This is a group – unlike, for example, veterans – that has had no real advocates”.
The Cincinnati coalition’s strategy to change this will be implemented in October if approved by the federal government.