The National Campaign for Youth Shelter launches to provide shelter for homeless youth.

Being a teenager is hard enough, then add being an LGBT teen who is homeless, and you’ve reached a whole new level of adversity. There are thousands of young people, LGBT or not, who need help. Which is why the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Ali Forney Center have come 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 Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1982 with the mission of ending homelessness. They strive to make sure the immediate needs of those experiencing destitution are met and their civil rights are protected. The Ali Forney Center is the nation's largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth, providing housing, supportive services to over 1,000 homeless LGBT youth per year and advocacy on their behalf.


The National Campaign for Youth Shelter calls include 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 US should be left homeless in the streets, a commitment to add 22,000 beds, and a more accurate 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% of the nation’s homeless youth being LGBT, while only 5% of the overall youth population is LGBT.


A second rally will be held in Washington DC later in the year by a broader coalition of organizations also impacted by youth homelessness.


Currently, there are only approximately 4,000 youth shelter beds in the U.S., 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," says 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," says 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 the Ali Forney Center,  Campus Pride, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Family Acceptance Project, GLAAD, GLSEN, the Hetrick Martin Institute, and the It Gets Better Project.