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New York State Must Provide More Support for Homeless Gay Youth

March 29th, 2012 Joseph Pedro

Portraits of NYC's Homeless LGBT Youth by Carl Siciliano

The New York State budget agreement reached today includes a $215K increase in the amount of funding for RHY (Runaway and Homeless Youth). While an increase, it pales in comparison to the $2.35 Million cut from RHY in last year’s budget. In New York City there are only 250 youth shelter beds supported by RHY funding, while over 3,800 youths are homeless, 40% of whom are LGBT. It is unlikely that enough of this increase will reach NYC to allow the number of shelter beds to increase.

“I am deeply distressed by the lack of political will from our State leaders demonstrated in this budget to provide our most vulnerable youths with access to shelter, a necessity for human survival.” says Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center. ” The LGBT community in New York will not truly achieve equality until we share equally in our State’s resources. Our community certainly contributes to our State’s economy, even more so since the passage of marriage equality, and it is disturbing to receive the message that our neediest children can be left to fend for themselves in the streets without beds.”

More after the jump…

The Ali Forney Center, along with the Empire State Pride Agenda, Green Chimneys, the Bronx Community Pride Center, Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah and Queer Rising coordinated the efforts of the Campaign for Youth Shelter. The Campaign for Youth Shelter rallied the LGBT community to demand adequate protection for the homeless youths of NYC, and has requested that the City and State commit to a plan to provide 100 additional youth shelter beds each year until every homeless youth has immediate access to shelter. The Campaign has requested that the State and City each add $1.5 million in their respective RHY budgets to support 100 additional beds in NYC. In addition, the Campaign for Youth Shelter joined other advocates in calling for a full restoration of last year’s $2.35 Million cut to RHY statewide.

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