Welcoming, Affirming, Safe. The Bridge for Youth is a safe place for ALL youth. The Bridge has existed in commUNITY for 50+ years. Throughout, we’ve recognized the sobering statistics of the LGBTQ+ community – youth who identify as LGBTQ+ are 120% higher risk of experiencing some form of homelessness. Family conflict is the primary cause of homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth, which is disproportionately due to a lack of acceptance by family members of a youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Nationally amongst youth experiencing homelessness who identify as LGBTQ+ 62% have attempted suicide, and 54% have experienced abuse/neglect. In the last year, 22% of youth at The Bridge identified as LGBTQ+.
In the last year, 22% of youth at The Bridge identified as LGBTQ+Homelessness Amongst LGBTQ+ Youth
Amongst these youth, 59% report being bullied, compared to 42% amongst all youth at The Bridge; and over 80% cite family conflict/household dynamics as a critical issue. While immediate shelter and safety is vital, providing shelter alone is not enough. Comprehensive programming at The Bridge ranges from outreach and referrals to emergency shelter and transitional housing, case management, onsite healthcare (physical/oral/mental health), and aftercare support. Comprehensive and individualized case management specifically addresses the unique strengths and barriers that LGBTQ+ youth face in obtaining and maintaining safe, stable, and affordable housing; facilitating family reunification when safe and possible, and providing resources and referrals for stable housing when it’s not, as well as additional supports that are affirming and safe for LGBTQ+ youth – including access to gender affirming and transitional clothing, as well as access to onsite oral/physical/mental healthcare services, advocacy, legal support and advocacy, community referrals, and resource navigation and coordination. In 1993, The Bridge launched the first and today the longest running support group So What If I Am a weekly community support group for youth ages 12-21 to find community and be their authentic self, that provides emotional support and leadership development for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing family rejection/conflict, bullying and/or emotional distress. Learn more today at bridgeforyouth.org