Council Approves Two Bills to Expand Resources for LGBTQ+ and Runaway Homeless Youth

Image credit: New York City Council.

On June 8, 2023, the City Council approved two bills to expand resources for LGBTQ+ and runaway homeless youth. Both bills, Int. 976-A and 977-A, were sponsored by Council Member Althea Stevens.

Int. 976-A requires the Departments of Homeless Services (DHS) and Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to report data on the LGBTQ+ homeless population. Currently, the city does not have an adequate amount of data regarding the LGBTQ+ homeless population, hindering city agencies from properly servicing this vulnerable group. The bill directs the agencies to collect data that will be used to guide policy including the number of LGBTQ people who receive services from the agencies, and the number of beds reserved for and how many beds are declined by LGBTQ people.

Int. 977-A requires drop-in centers to participate in the intake process for runaway and homeless youth to transition to adult shelters. Prior to this bill, youth who aged out of Youth and Community Development shelters would stay in assessment intake centers that were run by Homeless Services. The youth would stay there for up to three weeks while waiting for a bed in a Homeless Services facility to be available, which discourages young people from going through this process. 

Currently, runaway and homeless youth can skip this process through a Youth and Community Development-funded transitional independent living support program, or through a runaway and homeless youth crisis services program. This bill adds Youth and Community Development drop-in centers to this exception, which makes it easier for young people to participate in the intake process without the fear and uncertainty of having to wait in an assessment intake center. By staying in Youth and Community Development funded facilities, young people can have further access to specialized services for runaway and homeless youth.

Council Member Stevens stated, “By cultivating safe spaces in our shelters city-wide, we will be reducing the marginalization and discrimination faced by our homeless youth population. The passing of both pieces of legislation is an essential step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for our LBGTQ youth experiencing homelessness in our city.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)

CC: Stated Meeting, (Int. 976-A, 977-A, June 8, 2023).



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