On November 8, community leaders joined the United Way Arise Project- a group of smart, bold, and civic-minded professionals dedicated to addressing the needs of the LGBTQ community- for a panel discussion on ending LGBTQ youth homelessness in the Twin Cities.
The panel took place at Minneapolis Event Centers, and was moderated by Arise committee member Jillian Hiscock. Speakers included Trina Olson, Executive Director of the PFund Foundation, Sai Kilp, LGBTQ Case Manager at YouthLink, Dr. Felicia Washington-Sy, Executive Director of RECLAIM, and Ken Slack, who was homeless as a LGBTQ youth.
Olson kicked off the conversation by saying, “It’s really important to understand the myths versus the realities of what LGBTQ youth have and what they need.”
“Finding a home is a big thing, but there are also other things such as a car, driver’s license, trying to get an ID- you need so many things to be able to just live,” said Slack (pictured right). “Being homeless and being a black trans man, I needed a lot of resources to help with my special needs.”
Panelists agreed those resources include mental health services, transportation, and medical services.
“When I was able to get what I needed, that made me feel connected to the community,” said Slack.
After the panel discussion, attendees got the chance to ask questions and hear from United Way Community Impact Program Manager Sam Blackwell and Arise Project Chair Steph Moores. There was also an opportunity for attendees to donate to help end LGBTQ youth homelessness.
“Investing in a project like Arise allows experts to think about all the things that intersect and how we can have the biggest impact,” said Washington-Sy.
“This is fixable,” said Olson. “We are a very generous community.”
You can help LGBTQ homeless youth struggling in the Twin Cities tonight. Give a gift to Arise Project.