First LGBTQ youth homeless shelter opens in Pima County

First LGBTQ youth homeless shelter opens in Pima County
To address fears of unsafe housing options among homeless LGBTQ youth, OPCS and SAAF have partnered to establish Bread & Roses, the first shelter of its kind in Pima County. (Source: WBRC)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Many youth who identify as LGBTQ are often affected by homelessness, and frequently have difficulty finding shelter where they feel protected and respected.

To ease the impact, Bread and Roses, the first crisis transitional shelter in Pima County for homeless LBGTQ youth has opened its doors, and offers a safe and inclusive place for youth ages 18 to 24.

According to advocates of the community, LGBTQ youth comprise up to 40% of the entire homeless youth population in the United States, and are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ individuals. They are also at a heightened risk of violence and abuse compared to their cisgender and heterosexual peers.

“Bread and Roses offers a safe, inclusive, and affirming space for LBGTQ+ youth, ages 18 to 24. The program aims to provide these youth the support needed at every step, so they can permanently leave the streets, secure stable housing, and build self-sufficient, fulfilling lives.”

Bread and Roses is a collaboration between Old Pueblo Community Services and the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation.

The shelter can house up to 8 youth at a time, and its goal is to help 24+ participants move into permanent housing each year.

In addition to housing, youth will be supported from entry to exit by a case manager, counselor, housing navigator, health specialist, employment coach and substance abuse therapist.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.