FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 18, 2016

Contact: Lauren Gray (lgray@dhs.nyc.gov, 917-790-3890)

 

NYC DEPARTMENT OF HOMELESS SERVICES AND COUNCIL MEMBER RITCHIE TORRES ANNOUNCE OPENING OF NEW HOMELESS SHELTER FOR LGBTQ COMMUNITY

Brand-new shelter model will provide targeted services for LGBTQ community

NEW YORK—Today, the Department of Homeless Services and Council Member Ritchie Torres announced a new homeless shelter will be opened in the Bronx next month to meet the needs of homeless LGBTQ young adults (ages 21-30). Some studies estimate that as many as 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. The de Blasio administration worked to develop this new shelter model in response to feedback from nonprofit service providers and advocates who identified the need to provide specialized services and support to homeless LGBTQ young adults until age 30. Services at this location will be tailored to the specific needs of this community and include:

  • Group counseling led by staff and peers,
  • "Seeking Safety" workshops led by trauma-informed clinical staff members,
  • An Entitlement Coordinator who is specifically trained on LGBTQ issues, with a focus on health benefits and documentation changes (especially needed for individuals who identify as transgender),
  • A partnership with Callen Lorde Bronx for medical services, including HIV care and transgender services,
  • Education referrals, and
  • Onsite psychiatrist who will provide psychiatric care, assessment and intervention.

"LGBTQ young people, particularly LGBTQ communities of color, are more vulnerable to becoming homeless and need our support," said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. "Today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to generating innovative solutions and moving beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to homeless services. We thank Council Member Torres for his leadership and for standing up on behalf of homeless New Yorkers."

New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres, the first openly gay candidate to be elected to legislative office in the Bronx and the youngest member of City Council, has stepped up as a leader on this issue and worked closely with the City to locate a site in his district for this new shelter, welcoming these young adults in need with open arms to their new home and working closely with the City to generate homelessness solutions.

"Single adult shelters can be too dangerous for LGBT youth. If you're a transgender young adult who's been evicted from your home by your own parents, going into a single adult shelter could do more harm than good. This shelter can be the refuge that stands between vulnerable LGBT youth and suicide," said Council Member Ritchie Torres of the Bronx.

The de Blasio administration has funded over 750 beds for runaway and homeless youth. This location will be managed by nonprofit service provider Project Renewal and will have the capacity to shelter 80 homeless New Yorkers.

"We are truly honored to have been selected by DHS to manage this new, unique and innovative shelter for LGBTQ young adults. Project Renewal has a 50-year track record of responding to the needs of New York's diverse homeless population. We are excited to work with the de Blasio administration, Council Member Torres and our community partners to ensure that each and every person who comes through our door at this shelter, regardless of their sexual identity or gender, has the full opportunity to renew their life and reclaim hope for the future," said Mitchell Netburn, President and CEO, Project Renewal.

Today's announcement was made during the City’s first "Homelessness Among LGBTQ Persons of Color Awareness Breakfast," sponsored by the Department of Homeless Services, Department of Youth & Community Development held at Fordham University's Rose Hill campus in the Bronx. This event featured speakers from organizations including the Ali Forney Center, Hetrick-Martin Institute, Depressed Black Gay Men, Caribbean Equality Project, Audre Lorde Project and others with the goal of raising awareness about the challenges and barriers faced by LGBTQ young persons of color.

Under Mayor de Blasio's leadership, the City has seen unprecedented growth in services for runaway and homeless youth. The opening of this new shelter in the Bronx will provide more housing and services to help our most vulnerable young adults succeed and thrive," said NYC Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. "We thank Council Member Torres for his unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ community and DYCD looks forward to continuing the City’s commitment to every young person seeking a safe space to get back on their feet and lead an independent life."

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