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.
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.