A Day in Our Shoes—Homeless LGBT Youth

By , 17, Staff Writer
February 10, 2012

I have a pretty comfortable routine: I roll out of bed, inhale a quick breakfast and go to (or sleep through) classes for hours at a time. My afternoon adventures—or misadventures, as the case may be—vary once school gets out, but I can always count on the feeling of my own worn, soft sheets and warm comforter when I crawl into bed at the end of the day. I don’t over think it. To me, that safe, familiar bed is a given. Lots of people aren’t as lucky.

Of the thousands of homeless young people in U.S. cities, an estimated 30 to 40 percent identify as LGBTQ. These teens and young adults are living on the streets because of the intolerant environments they faced at home. Some people leave home, and some people are kicked out. No matter their circumstances, these young people find themselves alone, without roofs, without beds and often, without families.

The Ali Forney Center, headed and founded by Carl Siciliano, is a New York City organization dedicated to providing safe places where homeless LGBTQ teens and young adults can live. Siciliano defines this LGBT youth struggle as a “fight for resources,” and he is on the forefront of the Campaign for Youth Shelter, a movement calling for increased funding to support the thousands of homeless teenagers in NYC. For the city’s homeless youth population of 3,800, there are only 250 shelter beds available. The Campaign is calling for an additional 100 shelter beds every year until there is a bed for any young person who needs it.

Learn more about The Ali Forney Center and how you can help homeless LGBTQ teens.

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