Restoration of Funds to Services for LGBT Runaway and Homeless Youth
WHEREAS, A census commissioned by the New York City Council released in 2008 indicated that on any given night 3,800 youth experience homelessness in NYC; and
WHEREAS, Recent studies have indicated that homeless LGBT youth, most of whom suffer homelessness because of being rejected by families who will not accept them, are at heightened risk for suicide, with 62% reporting having attempted suicide; and
WHEREAS, LGBT youth have a more difficult time accessing mainstream shelters where they are often subjected to homophobic abuse, and are therefore more likely to rely on drop-in and outreach services; and
WHEREAS, On Friday, November 26th, 2010, the New York City Dept. of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) announced that due to city- and state-level budget cuts, it will be reducing its Runaway and Homeless Youth Services expenditures by $969,407 in the current 2011 fiscal year, and by a further $700,000 in Fiscal Year 2012; and
WHEREAS, Homeless LGBT youth, who make up 40% of the homeless youth population nationally, would be disproportionately impacted by these cuts, with both the Ali Forney Center and the Bronx Pride Center losing 50% of the City funds that support their drop-in programs for LGBT youth; and
WHEREAS, Cuts were already made to Out of School Time (OST) programs, that effectively ended DYCD funding to LGBT youth-serving organizations, and now there is a proposal to cut funding to Street Outreach Programs by 50% in Fiscal Year 2011, and entirely eliminate them in FY 2012; and
WHEREAS, The City additionally plans to cut Council-funded Drop-in-Centers by 50% in FY 2011 and DYCD- funded Borough-wide Drop-in-Centers by one third in FY 2011 and again by 23% in FY 2012; and
WHEREAS, Reducing these services would leave LGBT youth stranded on our streets without support, forcing many of them to turn to drugs and prostitution and theft to survive, and putting them at risk for HIV/AIDS and criminal prosecution, which would cost the city significantly more money than the preventative services being cut; and
WHEREAS, In June 2010, a 25-member Commission, appointed by Mayor Bloomberg in October 2009, called for 200 additional beds for LGBT youth and expanded drop-in center hours (with a particular focus on the need for overnight drop-in hours) and expanded street outreach; and
WHEREAS, On January 6, 2011, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Finance Committee Chair Domenic M. Recchia Jr. announced that the Council and Administration had reached a budgetary agreement on the Fiscal Year 2011 financial plan that fully restores the spending reductions to homeless youth programs proposed by Mayor Bloomberg in the November financial plan; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five thanks City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the Council Assistant Majority Leader and Youth Services Committee Chair Lewis Fidler for their strong and dedicated leadership in seeking to have these funds restored to DYCD's budget for its vital services and programs for homeless LGBT; and be it further
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five voices strong objection to any future budget proposals that would cut services to Runaway and Homeless Youth programs and urges the City to find other ways to balance the budget that will not put our most vulnerable and at-risk residents in further jeopardy.
The above resolution passed by a vote of 32 in favor; 1 opposed; 1 abstaining.