Homeless youth partnership formed

Carolinas News Notes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time Out Youth Center (TOY) and the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (MSC) has formed a partnership to help LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness in Charlotte, Holly Drummond, director of development and communications for TOY reported.

The shared position provides case management services targeting LGBTQ youth in the shelter system.

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In 2016, the center conducted a local needs assessment regarding services to LGBTQ youth. While community data indicates most young adults seeking emergency shelter identify as male, MSC, the only year-round emergency shelter for men in Charlotte, N.C., ranked as the least safe sleeping option by young individuals who participated in the needs assessment. Safety concerns identified by the youth in the assessment were addressed in MSC’s upcoming renovation of the Tryon campus. Some concerns were related to staff interactions with members of the LGBTQ community.

“We know that our youth did not have a positive experience in the shelter and we wanted to change that,” said Rodney Tucker, TOY executive director. “With limited options for emergency housing, we were thrilled when the Men’s Shelter offered a unique solution that will help all LGBTQ guests have a better experience.”

To build capacity at both agencies, TOY has co-located a center staff member within MSC. By engaging in shelter and housing work with TOY, the agency gains important experience as it prepares to open a specialized, emergency shelter for LGBTQ youth. For MSC, the agency gains additional needed direct service support, as well as training and modeling to assist with a culture change among staff when it comes to serving youth, as well as the LGBTQ community. While building capacity at both agencies, this position will offer safer and more supportive emergency shelter and housing solutions for a vulnerable group of young adults, Drummond stated.

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Included are: case management staffing, training and consultation of agency personnel and a review of policies and procedures.

The joint venture answers the crucial needs of LGBTQ youth and was fully funded by a private donor for the first year. But for years to come, funding support is needed to help sustain the work of the partnership. Contributions in any amount are welcome and appreciated.

In the meantime, TOY will continue to implement the Host Home Program, a 90 transitional housing initiative for LGBTQ youth who have been displaced due to sexual orientation and/or gender identify. The program serves youth ages 18-24, providing housing, case management, counseling and emergency financial assistance, in addition to utilizing volunteers to provide housing for youth. Ten Host Home Providers are maintained by TOY at all times and is actively is searching for new participants. For more information on housing programs for LGBTQ youth or to become a Host Home Provider, email TOY at info@timeoutyouth.org or call 704-344-8335.

info: timeoutyouth.org.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.