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Gay youth protest NYC homeless funding cuts

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Between 30 and 40 gay homeless youth and their advocates gathered in front of New York’s City Hall on Tuesday, to protest a massive budget cut to the city’s lgbt-specific homeless funding.

The rally was organized by a coalition of organizations who help LGBTQ homeless youth, led by the Metropolitan Community Church of New York. MCCNY Homeless Youth Services director Lucky Michaels explained what’s happened to the funding.

Michaels: “They’ve been slowly and systematically been cutting the funds for the LGBTQ specific programs, and giving it to mainstream shelters and telling us to sent our LGBTQ kids to the mainstream shelters.”

Tanino Manneccifrom MCCNY says the change will have a domino effect across all of New York’s youth homeless programs.

Maannecci: “Essentially what that’s going to do, is it’s going to cripple the entire system of homeless youth services across the city, because here’s a disproportionately high number of LGBTQ youth on the streets right now.”

Homeless teen Shaquora (Shuh-KORE-uh) says she’s seen firsthand the harassment and violence directed at gay youth in mainstream shelters – and says the staff at those shelters can’t do anything to stop it.

Shaquora: “When you don’t see it, there’s no help. When it’s happening inside the rooms, and all you can see … I mean yeah, they see the results of it. They see beat up kids.”

Shaquora says if LGBTQ youth are forced to choose between a shelter where they don’t feel safe and the street – they’ll choose the street.

Shaquora: “They’re going to be just like some of us, sleeping on trains, sleeping outside, just … you know, on the floor.”

Organizers said the rally was intended to raise public awareness of the cuts – but also to get the attention of city council. Michaels says it’s not too late for city officials to step in and give some of the funding back.

–Aaron McQuade, New York.


Written by OutQ News staff

April 1, 2009 at 8:19 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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