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gender & sexuality | homelessness


This is just too disgusting... I don't even know what to say.

Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter and services for homeless LGBT youth, is furious at NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for an "It Gets Better" video the mayor released earlier today, in which he urged bullied gay youth to come to New York City where they would be accepted.

Siciliano explains, in a statement:

"Two days after slashing support to homeless youth programs in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has the gall to release a video telling LGBT youth that 'It Gets Better.' Mayor Bloomberg, your cruel and reckless cuts to the meager support system for homeless LGBT youth in New York City just made things for them much worse! On January 1st, Bloomberg cut support for outreach to homeless youth in half, cut most drop-in centers for homeless youth by a third, and cut support for the two LGBT homeless youth drop-in programs in half. In New York City there are over 1,000 LGBT youth suffering on the streets every night without access to safe shelter. The drop-in centers and outreach are their only support. Homeless LGBT youth are at incredible risk of suicide with 62% reporting that they have considered or attempted suicide.

The LGBT community needs to recognize these cuts as an attack against our most vulnerable youth, and against us as a whole. We pay just as much taxes as anyone, and there are far too few City-funded programs that support our most vulnerable youth. If we can be treated like this in a city with as strong an community as NYC, how will our youth ever get their fair share of the resources they need and deserve? I cannot speak strongly enough about what a horror it is to have LGBT youth who have been discarded by homophobic parents flock to us for help, and to have to counsel them to sleep in the subways because there are not nearly enough beds for them."

Said Bloomberg in the video: "Right now there may be some of you out there who feel that there's no hope, or that you're not wanted. Well I have a message for you. New York City wants you. New York has always been the place where anyone can go, and be who they're supposed to be, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual identity. We need you."

Source:  link to www.towleroad.com

NYC Restores Funds for Homeless Youths 07.Jan.2011 01:14

Pink & Black

The New York City council announced Thursday morning that it had reached an agreement with the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg that would restore $35 million in proposed budget cuts, including devastating reductions for runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth services.

According to a council news release, "The Council proposed alternative cuts and sources of savings in order to pay for its proposed restorations. Together, the alternative cuts and identified savings achieve the Council's goal of reducing spending while preventing cuts to programs that serve New York City's most vulnerable groups."

The release cited a period of "extensive negotiations" between city council speaker Christine Quinn, finance committee chairman Domenic Recchia Jr., and the Bloomberg administration.

The restorations prevent mid-year cuts to runaway and homeless youth programs in the Department of Youth and Community Development that would have halved the funding for street outreach and drop-in centers for LGBTQ youths. The agency had proposed reducing expenditures for runaway and homeless youth services by $969,407 in the current 2011 fiscal year and by an additional $700,000 in fiscal year 2012.

Advocates learned of the proposed cuts in an e-mail the day after Thanksgiving, sparking protest over the suddenness and severity of the proposals. As many as 40% of the estimated 3,800 runaway and homeless youths in the city are believed to be LGBTQ, a statistic that prompted Mayor Bloomberg to appoint a commission to study the issue last year. The commission found needs for expanded drop-in center hours and street outreach, or exactly what the city had proposed to cut.

Earlier this week, Carl Siciliano, the executive director of the Ali Forney Center, which serves homeless LGBTQ youths, issued a statement criticizing Mayor Bloomberg for an "It Gets Better" video in which he welcomed LGBTQ youths to New York City while his administration proposed the severe cuts.

Siciliano released a statement Thursday morning in which he thanked the city council, advocates, and homeless youths for the collective effort to restore the funding.

"Today is a great day for the homeless LGBT youth of our city, and for the LGBT community," he said. "The cuts to street outreach and drop-in centers would have been catastrophic. But the fight is not truly over until there are safe beds for the 3,800 youth who are without shelter every night in our city."

 link to www.advocate.com