The City Council recently voted to extend a contract with the Sacramento LGBT Community Center to fund services and shelter for transitional aged youth who are facing homelessness.
In addition, the City and the Sacramento LGBT Community Center are renewing the call for more families to host LGBTQ youth in a separate program aimed at youth in the same age group (18-24 years old).
The Council on Sept. 6 approved extending the center’s Short-term Transitional Emergency Program, which assists transitional aged youth. Launched in June 2019, STEP has served 159 clients, providing general health and wellness services, behavioral health services, alcohol and drug treatment, education, case management, employment and rehousing support.
Almost half of the participants in STEP have moved on to find permanent housing, officials said.
“STEP is working because the LGBT center knows this clientele so well,” said Nick Golling, manager of homeless services for the Department of Community Response. “They are able to provide this population with the stability they need, the freedom to be themselves and vital support to keep moving forward.”
The contract extension will provide $290,075 to the LGBT center to continue STEP for nine months. Some of the youth in STEP move on to the Host Home Program, also operated by the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.
The Host Home Program matches young people in need of a stable home with families who have an extra bedroom. The City funding allows the LGBT center to pay rent to the families.
“We’ve seen great success with this program,” Golling said. “Often, the youth and the families create a real bond, and when the young person gets a job and can pay their own way, they stay with the family and become permanently housed. It’s technically a ‘good problem’… and a sign of the value of the program. But we lose a host family, and we absolutely need more.”
Both STEP and the Host Home Program are essential to helping LGBTQ+ youth in our community, said Koby Rodríguez, acting CEO for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center.
“Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ youth still face discrimination and oppression, sometimes from their own families,” Rodríguez said. “The City of Sacramento’s support allows us to offer them a safe, stable place to stay while they find their way in the world. These programs are absolutely saving lives and reducing the number of LGBTQ youth living on the streets.”
If you are interested in providing a home for a young person in need, please contact Viselda Martinez at 916-442-0185 or firstname.lastname@example.org