By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia nonprofit has announced seed funding for a new project that would provide LGBT-friendly housing exclusively for homeless youth. It would be a first for Pennsylvania.

Here’s how Nasir Fears describes his teenage years in Philadelphia.

“It was survival of the fittest,” he said. “Any way I can try to survive I would do it — sleeping on the sub(way) or house-hopping.”

Fears says he became homeless at age 14 when he came out to his custodial grandparents, whose religious beliefs clashed with his sexual orientation.

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It’s not an uncommon story. Youth, 18 to 23, are among the fastest-growing segment of the homeless — and a disproportionate 40 percent are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. That’s why Project HOME is building the new residence and why the Philadelphia Foundation gave it initial funding of $100,000, says president Pedro Ramos.

“Today’s announcement is a milestone in an ongoing collaboration to solve a solvable challenge,” Ramos said.

The project still needs $13-million and Project HOME officials worry about the impact of housing cuts in the federal budget but still hope to break ground in September.

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