Youth homelessness affects 4.2 million youth in the United States each year. However, LGBTQ+ youth are 120% more likely to experience this difficult and frightening situation than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. In response to the startling statistic that LGBTQ+ individuals comprise up to 40% of young people experiencing homelessness, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Barbaris, Jonny Podell, and Gregory Lewis founded True Colors United (formerly known as True Colors Fund) in 2008.
True Colors United noticed that many communities, shelters, and other organizations want to support LGBTQ+ youth, but lack the resources or knowledge to create safe, welcoming spaces. Without affirming environments, LGBTQ+ youth are unable to obtain needed services and can even be inadvertently put in more difficult or dangerous situations. The team at True Colors United tries to stop this cycle by offering free training and resources to community partners on how to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness.
True Colors United’s efforts don’t stop with education and resources. Recognizing the power and importance of creating opportunities for youth who have experienced homelessness personally, True Colors United gives them the chance to use their firsthand experiences and lead the way in the effort to end the problem. Through fellowships, forums, and an action society, True Colors United collaborates with LGBTQ+ youth to ensure youth-led policies, systems, and protections are in place. Finally, True Colors United advocates, through the media and at the federal, state, and local levels of government, to secure critical funding and services for all youth and ensure policies, systems, and protections are in place to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ youth.
“Every child, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, deserves dignity, respect, and protection. Yet, LGBTQIA youth are far more likely to experience homelessness than other youth,” says Mary Lee Harris, HR Practice Project Manager at Blue Rock Search. “I choose [to support] True Colors United because they are working on innovative solutions to youth homelessness that aim to create safe and affirming services for everyone by focusing on those that are the most impacted.”
Blue Rock is proud to highlight and support the incredible work of True Colors United!
About Blue Rock Gives Back
At Blue Rock, part of our corporate culture is finding ways to help people whenever the opportunity arises. In the Blue Rock Gives Back program, our employees each choose a cause that is personally important. Then, on a monthly basis, we select one of those charities and make a donation. We believe that even small acts can make the world a better place.
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