San Diego receives $1.5M to create long-term shelter for unhoused LGBTQ+ youth

May 13, 2024

Congressman Peters enjoyed celebrating the $1.5 million in federal funding to open San Diego’s first permanent LGBTQ+-affirming youth shelter! This shelter will provide a safe and supportive place for LGBTQ+ youth to access the services they need to become securely housed.

Read more about it in this April 29th piece from Fox 5, posted below:

San Diego receives $1.5M to create long-term shelter for unhoused LGBTQ+ youth

By Danielle Dawson

April 29, 2024

The city of San Diego’s first permanent shelter for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness will soon open its doors.

On Friday, U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) announced the dedication of more than $1.5 million in federal funding to transform a vacant East Village office space into a 44-bed shelter specifically designed to support unhoused, transition-age youth in the LGBTQ+ community.

The grant was approved for the city as part of Congress’ annual review of requests for localized projects within the larger federal budget, according to Peters.

“A lot of projects were cut [or] they only received a fraction of what was requested, but not this project,” Peters said. “We asked for $1.5 million. We fought for $1.5 million every step of the way, and we secured all $1.5 million to make this shelter a reality.”

According to San Diego officials, the new funding will allow the city to extend an existing program that created temporary shelter space for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness.

The interim shelters are run by San Diego LGBT Community Center, also known as The Center, in partnership with San Diego Youth Services and the YMCA of San Diego County. These groups will also be operating the new permanent shelter facility once it opens sometime this winter.

City officials have put a keen focus on supporting LGBTQ+ youth who are struggling with housing instability, given its detrimental impact on their mental health.

According to the Trevor Project, nearly 30 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported experiencing homelessness or housing instability at some point in their lives, substantially increasing their risk of severe depression, anxiety or suicidal ideation.

Studies have also found that experiencing homelessness in one’s youth makes it more likely that they will experience it again later in life.

“LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable to homelessness,” Peters said. “We know too many stories of young people coming out to their families hoping to be embraced with acceptance, only to be shunned and kicked out of the house.”

In San Diego, upwards of 40 percent of the city’s unhoused youth identify as LGBTQ+, according to a 2023 report from the city’s Housing Commission.

“We have a responsibility to provide these young people with the opportunity to grow into thriving, happy adults and that starts with a safe place to lay your head at night,” Beth Davenport, chief operating officer for The Center, said. “When we move to the permanent site, it will be one of the largest LGBTQ-focused youth emergency housing programs in the country.”

The new shelter will offer services to meet their basic needs, as well as transportation assistance, employment support, outreach and case management. It is also centrally located near public transit, as well as San Diego City College.

“Helping unsheltered people of all ages get off the streets is important, but assisting young people aged between 18 and 24 is absolutely critical,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said on Friday.

“We know there is an overrepresentation of LGBTQ youth in our homeless population and this is the city’s attempt to try and respond to that overrepresentation,” he continued. “This will make a world of difference to a lot of people who need help.”



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Paid for by Scott Peters for Congress


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