Media Advisory

For March 31, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
3:45PM – 5:30PM

Convening at the corner of Park Row and Chambers street; converging on City Hall Park by 4PM

Runaway and homeless youth, clergy, executive directors and concerned citizens representing mainstream as well as LGBTQ-specific youth homeless shelters and drop-in programs across the city, including the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services, The New York City Association of Homeless and Street-Involved Youth Organizations, MCCNY’s Sylvia’s Place, Green Chimneys, Bronx Community Pride, Trinity Place Shelter, and Covenant House.

Last week, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) slashed funding for homeless youth shelters, in a wave of funding cuts that promise to cripple runaway and homeless youth programs across the city forcing closures and less beds. The closing of these programs will force youth to live on the streets for months while waiting for beds and services at already-overburdened shelters and youth drop-in centers. Homeless youth advocates are calling on the city to restore funding to these programs to prevent a collapse in the shelter system citywide.

Runaway and homeless youth—including a number of LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth—clergy and homeless youth service providers carrying signs and pillows to represent the youth beds that will be terminated with DYCD’s current funding cuts.

This Was an Ingenious response to DYCD Thanks A for phrasing my talking points more eloquently than I could

Dear Bill Chong, Daniel Symon, Jeanne Mulgrave and Susan Haskell,

Thanks for your form letter.

However, it does not answer my concerns.

By ending services specifically directed to LGBTQ youth, who as you know are a large percentage of homeless youth in the city, you leave them vulnerable to verbal, physical and sexual assault, as well as theft, in homeless centers where they will be scapegoated by heterosexual youth. We all know this is the truth. Why pretend otherwise?

The result will be increased drug use, suicide, prostitution, and HIV infection—that too is something we all know.

The costs to the City will ultimately be greater than those saved by not funding safe havens for queer youth.

And the City will have participated in causing great suffering that could be alleviated.

I hate to think that my tax dollars are promoting prostitution, violence and HIV infection in New York City. I am sure you feel the same way.

Yours truly,

Talking Points

Slashed city funding threatens thousands of LGBTQ Youth!

The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development axed
funding for programs that serve LGBTQ Homeless and Runaway Youth.

According to a City Council-funded survey, 35-40% of homeless youth in NYC identify as LGBTQ. It’s not enough to count this population; City Council needs to protect them!

These funding cuts will:

• Leave over 1,500 LGBTQ homeless youth vulnerable to verbal, physical and sexual assault and scapegoating by heterosexual youth at mainstream shelters;
• Increase rates of suicide, street work and HIV infection among LGBTQ homeless youth;
• End critical services for LGBTQ homeless youth like medical care, case management and job training;
• Drop the City’s bed count for LGBTQ youth from a meager 75 beds to a disastrous 40 total beds;
• Result in greater costs to the City than those saved by not funding safe havens for LGBTQ youth.

Cutting costs at the expense of LGBTQ homeless and runaway youth is unacceptable.


LGBTQ Youth Shelters Face Threat of Closure Following DYCD
Funding Refusal
Dear Lucky Michaels,

The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has slashed funding for LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth programs in a wave of funding cuts that promise to cripple LGBTQ homeless youth services across the city in the coming year. By refusing funding requests for LGBTQ youth programs at MCCNY Homeless Youth Services: Sylvia's Place and Bronx Community Pride while cutting funds by 2/3 for Green Chimneys' LGBTQ program, DYCD has jeopardized the futures of thousands of homeless LGBTQ youth.

The closing of these programs will force LGBTQ youth to live on the streets for months while waiting for beds at mainstream shelters, where they face harassment and violence due to their sexual orientation. DYCD has further threatened the well-being of LGBTQ clients who depend upon LGBTQ homeless youth organizations for food, clothing, medical care and case management services.

There are currently only 75 beds citywide for LGBTQ homeless youth, though over 35% of the city's homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. The Metropolitan Community Church of New York operates Sylvia's Place, which houses 26 LGBTQ youth beds and serves over 1000 youth every year. The city's unwillingness to acknowledge the critical work of Sylvia's Place and other LGBTQ -specific youth shelters will lead to a collapse in the shelter system citywide, making it impossible for homeless youth of all orientations to secure the housing and services they need.

If DYCD gets away with this, then the 75 beds that New York City currently has for LGBTQ youth could be cut to less than 49 BEDS for LGBTQ youth in a city where, according to a New York City Council-funded survey, over 1000 LGBTQ youth are homeless every night.

Tell DYCD and your legislators that the futures of homeless LGBTQ youth matter!

MCCNY Homeless Youth Services, Green Chimneys, Bronx Community Pride and many more depended on these funds and will be losing ground if DYCD does not consider their proposals now!





Media Contact: Lucky Michaels
MCCNY Homeless Youth Services
(212) 629-7440

City Funding Refusal Threatens Welfare of Thousands of Homeless LGBTQ Youth
The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has failed to consider $253,718 in funding for Sylvia’s Place, a project of MCCNY Homeless Youth Services, thus jeopardizing the welfare of over 1,000 homeless and runaway LGBTQ youth in the coming year who would rely on Sylvia’s Place services.
The refusal follows DYCD claims that all Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Drop-In Center proposals in Manhattan had been eliminated from consideration for funding in fiscal year 2010. DYCD also rejected a continued funding request from Bronx Community Pride Center, who has also been offering DYCD-funded drop-in services to LGBTQ youth for the past three years. DYCD slashed funding by 2/3 for Green Chimneys, which operates a transitional housing program for LGBT youth.

"In 2008, Ali Forney Center, which provides drop-in services to LGBTQ youth from its facilities in Chelsea, was subject to a similar funding refusal by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene," said MCCNY Charities Executive Director William Morán-Berberena.
MCCNY Homeless Youth Services operates Sylvia’s Place, which currently provides 1/3 of the city’s existing beds for LGBTQ homeless and runaway youth, who face harassment, violence and discrimination at mainstream shelters. Without DYCD funding, the LGBTQ youth waiting on transitional beds at the Ali Forney Center and Green Chimneys—a process which can take a long time—will be forced back to the streets.
“Losing contact with at-risk youth will mean that we will be unable to locate them when their names come up on months-long waiting lists,” said MCCNY Homeless Youth Services Director Lucky S. Michaels. “We will also be unable to ensure that the youth receive the services—food, medical care, and shelter—they need, and the assistance they require to avoid future interactions with law enforcement.”
Of the nearly 3.800 youth who are homeless in New York City every night, over 1080 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a 2007 study by the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services. Sylvia’s Place currently houses 26 of the only 75 beds for LGBTQ homeless youth in the city.
“Without DYCD funding for drop-in centers in Manhattan, all Sylvia’s Place’s programs are at great risk of closing, reducing the LGBTQ bed per client ration to well below 2007 levels.,” said the Reverend Pat Bumgardner, Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of New York.
"The recurrence of these city funding refusals to LGBTQ-specific social service organizations brings into question not only the welfare of the City’s LGBTQ community but also the willingness of city agencies to protect LGBTQ New Yorkers," said Morán-Berberena.


Tell the DYCD and City Council that the futures of LGBTQ homeless youth matter! Forward this message to your press and network contacts and get the word out that LGBTQ youth are at risk of losing vital services!

E-mail your letter (see example below) to:
Daniel Symon, DYCD Chief Contracting Officer
Jeanne B. Mullgrav, Commissioner DYCD
Mayor Bloomberg

Dear [Mr. Symon, Ms. Mullgrav, Mayor Bloomberg]:
We are requesting that you reconsider your funding refusal to MCCNY Homeless Youth Services, which relies on funding from the Department of Youth and Community Development to operate Sylvia’s Place. By neglecting to fund their program, you threaten a breakdown in the runaway and homeless youth (RHY) system in New York City. Sylvia’s Place is one of the few emergency shelters that house LGBTQ youth waiting on beds in other city-funded programs.
Sylvia’s Place has been central to the effort to provide LGBTQ-specific services. Sylvia’s Place representatives serve on the national LGBTQ Advisory Council, and work with a number of leaders to develop international support to homeless LGBTQ individuals. DYCD’s decision will have lasting effects upon the LGBTQ RHY population nationwide.
Organizations nationally and internationally have looked to MCCNY Homeless Youth Services for advise on best practices and how to start up similar crisis facilities worldwide. To date MCCNY has worked with or are working with programs in Arizona, Guadalajara, Jamaica, Pakistan, and Kuala Lumpur and are focusing their work on providing health and human services in New York City while setting the example to communities elsewhere.
A recent pattern of New York City budget cuts has affected already-underserved LGBTQ communities: a disturbing trend that may be duplicated on the national level. Attempting to cut Ali Forney Day Center’s money entirely, cutting Green Chimney’s funds by 2/3 and refusing to fund MCCNY Homeless Youth Services while funding other RHY programs leaves us wondering where the priorities are for a youth population, 35-40% of whom identify as LGBTQ.
We ask, for the sake of LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth, that you call for the awarding of desperately-needed funds to MCCNY Homeless Youth Services, and continue the fight to protect all runaway and homeless youth.