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U.S. News

Pennsylvania: City Hall Recognizes LGBT Homeless Youth

November 18, 2011

A coalition of agencies and advocates fighting HIV among young people gathered Tuesday at Philadelphia City Hall to raise awareness about the epidemic of homelessness among LGBT youths. According to Connect to Protect (C2P), whose Housing Committee hosted the briefing, an estimated one in five homeless youth in the city identify as LGBT.

The National Runaway Switchboard took more than 1,000 calls from the area last year. Awareness-building can help prevent homelessness and get these youths linked to services, advocates say. Philadelphia proclaimed November "Runaway and Homeless Youth Awareness Month."


"Along with losing their home, their community, their friends, and their routines, as well as a sense of stability, many homeless young people are victims of trauma," said Gloria Casarez, the city's director of LGBT affairs. "While trying to survive on the streets, youth are exposed to countless dangers with increasing likelihood of substance abuse, early parenting or depression."

In Philadelphia, C2P is organized by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and affiliate supporters include the Attic Youth Center, Mazzoni Center, and Covenant House. Since 2008, C2P's housing committee has worked to institute HIV testing at youth shelters, train support staff at local shelters on LGBT issues, and spearhead clothing, laundry, and other services.

C2P also is working on a partnership with the Department of Human Service to prevent homelessness, said Alison Lin, C2P's community coordinator. Almost half of youths discharged from the child-welfare system lack housing for up to six months. The city has 14 crisis shelter beds for youths under age 17, and 45 for those ages 18-21.

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Back to other news for November 2011

Adapted from:
Philadelphia Gay News
11.17.2011; Jen Colletta

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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