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At Casa Ruby, a group that provides services and advocates for LGBTQ people in D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser this morning announced $45,000 provided by telecommunications company Verizon to two local nonprofits that focus on LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, in addition to six new beds for the group founded by Ruby Corado.
That pair included Wanda Alston House and Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders. A District census conducted last summer found that more than 300 people under the age of 24 are thought to be homeless, of which 43 percent identified at LGBTQ. Moreover, eight percent of those surveyed were classified as “chronically homeless,” and 20 percent of them were unsheltered. Bowser’s administration invested more than $500,000 towards providing 15 more shelter beds in the fiscal year 2016 budget, out of a $1.3 million investment.
“The District is investing over $5 million every year to implement and bring to scale solutions to end youth homelessness,” Laura Zeilinger, director of D.C.’s Department of Human Services, said in a statement. “This investment provides the necessary resources to support additional shelter and transitional housing beds, drop-in centers, street outreach, and a youth census. With more accurate data on the number of youth experiencing housing instability we are able to implement more effective interventions and programs to provide services.”
As a result of the census, DHS says D.C. has been able to “invest strategically” in more emergency and shelter beds, develop family reunification programs meant to prevent homelessness, and improve intake and referral processes. Of the youth surveyed, 15 percent cited a “family conflict” resulting from their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The census confirms established research that LGBTQ youth are at an increased risk for homelessness as compared with their non-LGBTQ peers, even though they compose a far smaller share of the general population nationwide. Meanwhile, a report released by the D.C. Office of Human Rights in November found that 48 percent of employers seemed to give preference to cisgender job applicants over their non-gender-conforming peers in a compliance test. The next week, the D.C. Trans Coalition released a survey finding that 42 percent of transgender residents had been harassed at work; 60 percent of participants considered suicide at some point, and 34 percent had once acted on it.
Casa Ruby is located at 2822 Georgia Ave. NW.