Philly Campaign Raises Awareness Of LGBT Youth Homelessness

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Valley Youth House on Samson Street is kicking off a campaign to raise funds to help homeless LGBT youth.

Valerie Johnson, an officer with Valley Youth House, says the group decided after a recent census of homeless youth in Philadelphia to do something unusual to get attention:

“They’re sleeping on couches, they’re not sleeping on the street. So we wanted to bring a couch to the streets to try and raise awareness.”

She says the “Couches Don’t Count” campaign launches a Shelter Pride fundraising drive to pull in some $300,000:

“It’s a huge goal, but when you think about it on a youth-to-youth basis, for as little as $5,600 you could support one youth for six months.”



Photographer/author Rachelle Lee Smith has captured images of LGBT youth. She says the stories from her subjects validate the need:

“A large part of that is being kicked out of their house and not being accepted and not having a stable place to live.”

Valley House helps 25 young people a year with transitional housing and Johnson says the goal is to double that number by 2017.

More from Mark Abrams

More From CBS Philly

Latest Forecast
Weather App
Latest Videos

Watch & Listen LIVE