Center for Youth to hold fundraiser for housing project for homeless LGBTQ youth
Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) —
Twelve years ago, Scotty Ginett was struggling with his newfound identity as a gay man.
“You're faced with all of a sudden, what you knew for your entire life is gone,” he said.
He found himself alone, helpless and homeless.
“When you're homeless, that type of trauma you're going through is intense and these kids are really vulnerable," said Ginett.
The LGBTQ community leader is now working with the Center for Youth in Rochester to raise money for more housing. Ginett is using his 30th birthday party as a fundraiser for the cause.
The Center for Youth’s Executive Director Elanie Spaull has a space for the housing project that’s expected to open late summer. It’s located in the southwest part of the city, but needs renovation work.
The building will house up to 5 homeless kids in the LGBTQ community. The would stay there for about three months to help get them back on their feet.
“What we need to do is to find more beds that are designated to this target population, so that there is a safety and security as they seek services," said Spaull.
Nationwide, LGBTQ kids have a 120 percent higher risk of homelessness. Spaull said the need for housing is growing as more and more teens are identifying as LGBTQ, and resources and funding become scarce.
Ginett and Spaull hope to fill that void in the community.
“If we have the opportunity to provide these kids with some assistance…to in those 90 days get them stable and back on their feet, we're really doing a strong service for them," said Ginett.
The fundraiser for the housing project will be held Monday from 6 pm to 8 pm at Living Roots Wine & Co. on University Avenue.
Other partners for the By Their Side campaign include the Rochester Police Department and the Monroe County DAs office. District Attorney Sandra Doorley said bringing awareness to this project is vital as many kids on the streets wind up in trouble with the law.
Doorley’s full statement reads:
“The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office is proud to stand with Center for Youth’s By Their Side campaign. As community leaders, it is important to support our local youth and ensure they have the resources to succeed, as they are our future leaders. On the law enforcement side, this is a crime prevention strategy to invest in youth so they do not behave in reckless behavior and end up in the criminal justice system.
“This campaign is an important step to brining awareness of homeless youth in our community, of which 40 percent identify as LGBTQ. It is important that every young person knows there are people and resources available to help them during difficult times.”