One Equal World

The Arizona Nonprofit That Helps Homeless LGBT Youth

Posted on: December 2, 2016

A homeless teenager sitting on the street curb.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Approximately a thousand and a half youth are homeless in Arizona at last count, and an estimated third of them are LGBT, according to Phoenix nonprofit one*n*ten. The group provides aid and services to LGBT youth who are homeless, hungry, or have mental health needs in the Phoenix area.

One*n*ten’s program, called “Promise of a New Day” or P.O.N.D., is focused on getting LGBT teens off the street and into supportive housing through financial aid and career training. Like all initiatives of their like, every dollar is a struggle, but they’ve just recently received a huge hand up. Phoenix IDA, an organization focused on supporting underserved communities (their own focus is autism), has awarded one*n*ten with a $50,000 grant this holiday season.

That money will make one*n*ten’s new housing program for P.O.N.D. possible. It will also provide more than 600 hours of behavioral health services, including therapy and doctor’s visits for those most in need.

“This award, generously funded by Phoenix IDA, will get our youth off the street and into behavioral health services at our youth center and our five satellite program locations, enabling us to directly impact the homeless challenges they face,” said Linda Elliott, the executive director of one*n*ten.

The amount of good that can be done by a grant like this one is inestimable. Hopefully, more donations will follow, but the problem has to be addressed by more than just small nonprofits like IDA and one*n*ten.

Nationwide, an estimated 40% of homeless people under the age of 18 identify as LGBT. Most of them cite family rejection as the reason they live on the streets. They are likely to become homeless younger than straight youths, and more likely to commit suicide as well. Systemic change, far more than just the right to marry, is still vital to work for.

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