Published on May 21st, 2015 | from CAMH
True Colors Shine Through at The White House
By Dr. Alex Abramovich, Postdoctoral Fellow, Social & Epidemiological Research Department
The True Colors Fund in New York City, co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, works towards ending LGBTQ youth homelessness. My colleagues at the True Colors Fund have persistently tried to reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, America’s only Federal law that funds services for youth experiencing homelessness, they have also worked hard to ensure that the Act recognizes the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth.
LGBTQ2S youth are overrepresented amongst homeless youth across North America, and often underrepresented in shelters, due to homophobic and transphobic discrimination and violence.
On April 29 2015, Cyndi Lauper and the True Colors Fund partnered with the White House and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and brought together over 100 of America’s leaders in the area of youth homelessness, including researchers, service providers, federal agencies, and most importantly, young people with lived experience.
I am extremely grateful to have been invited to attend and take part in this important policy briefing on youth homelessness. It was an honour to share knowledge and to discuss the work that I am involved in at CAMH.
The briefing commenced with an introduction by Cyndi Lauper, as well as the Special Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity, and the Secretary of Labor; followed by a panel discussion by federal agencies on advancing the USICH framework to end youth homelessness. Gregory Lewis, Executive Director of True Colors Fund, moderated the presentations on “Innovation Across Sectors”. These presentations covered a range of information, including research and data, the role of philanthropy, and innovative practice. The second half of the briefing included a youth panel on the perspectives of youth with lived experiences of homelessness, as well as a collaborative cross-sector discussion on youth homelessness, which provided all invited leaders an opportunity to share insights, opinions, information, and knowledge in response to a series of questions meant to foster collaboration and help move efforts to end youth homelessness forward.
It was a great honour to take part in these discussions on youth homelessness. I look forward to continuing this important collaboration and working with my colleagues in the U.S. to ensure that all young people have a safe place to sleep at night.