This post is part of a series to celebrate the honorees at the LGBT Heritage Month opening ceremonies which took place at City Hall on June 1st, 2012.
Jeff Griffith Youth Center at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center
Here are some facts we might not think about as we’re driving down the street in Los Angeles:
On any given day or night there are an estimated 4,000 runaway and homeless young persons (up to 24 years old) living on the streets of LA.
Nationally, it is estimated that 20% to 40% of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
In a survey conducted with homeless youth in Hollywood in 2007, 39% identified as being LGBT or undecided.
The Jeff Griffith Youth Center at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center says that many of these kids are forced to leave home due to their sexual orientation. Sometimes they leave home because of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. All because they are gay.
These are the sad facts of reality that people seeking assistance at the Jeff Griffith Youth Center face on a daily basis.
Just last year, the Center provided services to 1103 kids and helped put a roof over their heads, find them jobs, and give them hope.
“Each year we give over 1000 young people not only a safe respite from life on the streets of Los Angeles, but also a chance to build positive lives for themselves,” said Curtis Shepard of the Gay and Lesbian Center. “These young people accomplish this through education, employment, and the development of self-confidence and self-sufficiency.”
Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, who is committed to finding solutions to end homelessness, recently honored the Jeff Griffith Youth Center for its efforts to provide hope and shelter to the most vulnerable members of our next generation.
“All of us at the Center are enormously pleased and proud that the Jeff Griffith Youth Center is being recognized by Councilmember Rosendahl, Mayor Villaraigosa and the Council for its efforts on behalf of homeless LGBTQ youth, one of the most marginalized segments of our community,” said Shepard. ”We are grateful for the honor you bestow on us to commemorate LGBT Heritage Month.”
The Center’s Simon Costello accepted the recognition in council chambers:
The LGBT Heritage Month event was sponsored by the City of Los Angeles, Toyota and CSW/Christopher Street West.