Slated for fall 2021, the Rescue Mission Alliance will open an emergency youth shelter in Syracuse. The 10-bed shelter will serve runaway and homeless youth ages 12 to 17 in Syracuse and Onondaga County. There will be a focus on serving and affirming lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. ACR Health and McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center will serve as collaborative community partners.
Additional emergency housing for runaway and homeless youth has emerged as a critical need in recent years. Facilities in the area capable of housing youth are frequently near or at capacity. Serving adults 18 and older, the Rescue Mission’s emergency shelter in Syracuse is forced to turn youth away.
Homelessness affects many segments of the youth population, but LGBTQ youth are at greater risk. Nationally, 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. The primary reason LGBTQ youth experience homelessness is family rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ youth also suffer physical and sexual assaults at higher rates.
The Rescue Mission purchased a suitable house for the shelter, which is currently undergoing renovations. Fundraising for the youth shelter is underway with a goal of $500,000. Plymouth Congregational Church in Syracuse provided an initial gift of $50,000 toward the project.
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"Leading an organization that has cared for the needs of the homeless for over 100 years, I cannot in good conscience ignore the dire needs of homeless LGBTQ young people who are struggling to survive on the street."Dan Sieburg Chief Executive Officer