The National Coalition for the Homeless and the Ali Forney Center have joined together to launch the National Campaign for Youth Shelter, a collaboration that will build a grassroots campaign to demand a national response to youth homelessness.
The National Campaign for Youth Shelter calls include the following:
- A federal commitment to provide all youths age 24 and under with immediate access to safe shelter, affirming the principle that no young person in the United States should be left homeless in the streets.
- An immediate commitment to add 22,000 beds. (This number corresponds to the number of youths identified in the most recent Point In Time Count of homeless persons conducted by the federal government).
- A more accurate and comprehensive effort to count the number of homeless youth in the nation in order to determine the number of beds that are needed over the next decade.
On June 2nd the National Campaign for Youth Shelter will hold a rally in New York City to launch the campaign as a priority within the LGBT movement. LGBT youth are disproportionately over-represented in the homeless youth population, with as many as 40 percent of the nation’s homeless youth being LGBT, while only 5 percent of the overall youth population is LGBT.
A second rally will be held in Washington D.C. later in the year by a broader coalition of organizations also impacted by youth homelessness.
The National Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1982 with the mission of ending homelessness. Currently, there are only approximately 4,000 youth shelter beds in the United States, yet as many as 500,000 unaccompanied youths experience homelessness each year.
“It’s indefensible that our nation would abide hundreds of thousands of young people to be homeless and on their own,” said Jerry Jones, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “The National Campaign for Youth Shelter will highlight the urgency of basic emergency shelter as we work toward permanent solutions to this crisis.”
“It is unprecedented to have so many LGBT organizations join together with prominent national housing and anti -poverty organizations to fight for the humane treatment of impoverished youths.” said Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center. “With all this support, the National Campaign for Youth Shelter will build a movement to finally prevent youths from being left to suffer homelessness without access to shelter. The wealthiest nation on earth must not allow its youths to be left out in the streets.”
Over 30 organizations have endorsed of the National Campaign for Youth Shelter, including:
Ali Forney Center
Alliance for a Just Society
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for Community Change
Center for Popular Democracy
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Coalition on Human Needs
Empire State Pride Agenda
Family Acceptance Project
Family Equality Council
Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Garden State Equality
Hetrick Martin Institute
Housing Assistance Council
It Gets Better Project
Matthew Shepard Foundation
National AIDS Housing Coalition
National Black Justice Coalition
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Low Income Housing Coalition
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Partnership for Working Families
Rebuild the Dream
Ruth Ellis Center
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
Treatment Action Group
You Can Play Project