Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Safe Place

In Chicago, our eyes were opened to a different aspect of homelessness that we had not come across in D.C. We learned that Chicago has large numbers of homeless youth (15,000 youth experience homelessness every year in the city), and that within this demographic many of these youth identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender). Many have severed ties completely with their families, who may have kicked them out or not accepted them. Some form their own families out on the street to cope, and many experience violence and instability daily. Through our connection with Lakeview Presbyterian Church, we heard about Cafe Pride, a Friday night social space held in the basement of the church. Around 40-50 youth will come regularly, some from as far as 2 hours away by train, just to hang out, be themselves, and belong to a community that cares about who they are. We also walked through the Center on Halsted, a state-of-the-art LGBT community center that offers social spaces, learning areas, various resources, programs and services, community organizations that serve the LGBT community. Check it out!

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