story by Claire Miller
The College of Education & Human Development’s Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence received a $361,000 AmeriCorps VISTA grant to launch a street outreach program for homeless and runaway LGBTQ+ youth in downtown Atlanta.
The outreach program will work with local street outreach organizations to build out their outreach teams, connect LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness with community services and provide resource kits.
They will also develop an LGBTQ+ sensitivity and trauma-informed care program to train staff in community organizations, school systems, religious organizations and other groups working with this population, and offer internships for LGBTQ+ homeless youth to gain valuable work experience.
The Crim Center will recruit 18 Georgia State University students studying education, public health and/or social work to support the outreach program’s work, which will be guided by members of its advisory board:
- Erin Beacham, A.C.T. Consultants
- Jacque-Corey Cormier, Georgia State University’s School of Public Health
- Nicholas Forge, Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
- Brittany Garner, Point Source Youth
- Jenna Lee, Chris 180
- Selima Morrow, Point Source Youth
- Krystle Rodriguez, Hodgepodge Coffeehouse
- Tamara Roulhac, Partners for Home
- Emily Anne Vall, Resilient Georgia
- Zoe Webb, StandUp for Kids
- Todd Wilcher, Covenant House
This work is critical, given that homeless and runaway LGBTQ+ youth make up 30-40 percent of the youth homelessness population in the U.S., and they are at much greater risk for suicide, sexual assault and human trafficking compared to their heterosexual peers, according to Adam Goslin, director of the Crim Center’s T.E.E.M.S. AmeriCorps program.
“The majority of homeless shelters around the country do not explicitly serve LGBTQ+ individuals, which leads to additional mental health issues for youth, such as a lack of self-esteem, depression and rejection,” he said. “Through collaborative partnerships, Georgia State has the ability and resources to positively impact these numbers through street outreach, training and education awareness programs.”
AmeriCorps is a federal agency that connects individuals and organizations to tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges. VISTA is a division of AmeriCorps focused on lifting people and communities out of poverty. For more information, visit https://americorps.gov/serve/fit-finder/americorps-vista.