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GMHC Advocates for NYC to Raise Homeless Youth Housing Age from 21 to 25

Friday Aug 25, 2017
Patrick George III, an intern at GMHC who was homeless
Patrick George III, an intern at GMHC who was homeless  

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) joined other advocacy organizations on the steps of New York's City Hall to urge the city to raise the age that homeless youth can receive housing in residential programs funded by the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) from 21 to 25.

"We know that homeless youth -- especially LGBT homeless youth -- are much more likely to engage in drug use and sex work, as well as contract STIs, including HIV," said Eric Sawyer, GMHC's Vice President for Public Policy. "Raising the eligibility age for homeless youth to have access to DYCD-funded housing would help give thousands of homeless youth a safe place to live and minimize these risks, as well as connect them to counseling and other services. We urge Mayor De Blasio, the City Council, and DYCD to enact this change now."

New York State recently enacted legislation to extend the age in New York State-licensed homeless youth housing programs until the age of 25, and federal efforts to end youth homelessness through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Interagency Council of Homelessness also define youth homelessness as lasting until the age of 25.

"When I was 17, I was left vulnerable and homeless when I was kicked out of my mother's house in New Jersey with just the clothes on my back," said rally speaker Patrick George III, an intern at GMHC now pursuing a master's degree in social research at Hunter College. "I ended up in a temporary housing situation with an acquaintance that was unhealthy and turned violent. When I was finally able to move in with my grandmother I felt safe and secure enough to get a job-and to eventually attend and graduate from college. All homeless youth should have access to this kind of safe environment that will allow them to stay off the streets, stay out of trouble, and thrive. It made all the difference to me."

New York State has recently enacted legislation to extend the age in NYS-licensed homeless youth housing programs until age 25. The federal efforts to end youth homelessness through HUD and the Interagency Council of Homelessness also define youth homelessness as lasting until the age of 25. Back in April of 2017, youth experiencing homelessness and advocates implored the city to extend the age on #40toNoneDay, a national day of awareness to end LGBTQ youth homelessness.

For more information, visit gmhc.org

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