Denver, Colorado (June 10, 2013) – This weekend, long after the 250,000 people who will line the streets during the day for Denver’s PrideFest have gone home, nearly 800 youth will remain on the streets. They are the youth of Denver who are experiencing homelessness. Of the 800 youth sleeping on the streets of Denver, up to 300 identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or questioning (LGBTIQ).
The national numbers tell a grim story: 40% of the estimated 1.8 million youth who will experience homelessness this year identify as LGBTIQ, many of whom were kicked out of their homes by their caretakers once their sexual orientation was revealed. Once on the streets, LGBTIQ youth are at increased risk of victimization and suffer higher rates of mental health problems and unsafe sexual behavior than their straight counterparts.
Urban Peak, a Denver-based non-profit organization that serves youth ages 15 to 25 who are experiencing homelessness, is recognized throughout the gay and lesbian community as a safe place for youth to get help. In addition to providing LGBTIQ case management, Urban Peak offers numerous programs and services that help youth who are experiencing homelessness on their respective paths to self-sufficiency including a 40-bed overnight shelter, daytime drop-in center and activities, transitional housing, education and employment services, life skills courses, mental health evaluations, meals and more.
“It’s difficult to believe that in 2013 teenagers are still being forced out of their homes after revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity to their parents,” said Kim Easton, Chief Executive Officer for Urban Peak. “Through specific LGBTIQ case management, behavioral health services, and transitional housing options, Urban Peak is committed to staying at the forefront of this issue and helping this specific and vulnerable population in obtaining the services they need to live a safe life off of the streets.”
Life on the streets for youth who identify as LGBTIQ is extremely frightening. LGBTIQ youth who experience homeless report higher rates of physical and sexual assault (58 percent), increased mental health issues, and greater substance abuse. LGBTIQ youth who experience homelessness are twice as likely to attempt suicide (62 percent) as their heterosexual homeless peers (29 percent).
About Urban Peak
Founded in 1988, Urban Peak is the only non-profit organization in Denver that provides a full convergence of services for youth ages 15 to 25 experiencing homelessness or youth who are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Urban Peak serves youth along their individual journeys to self-sufficiency in providing numerous amenities, programs and services including a 40-bed shelter, daytime drop-in center and activities, transitional housing, education and employment services, case management, life skills courses, mental health evaluations, meals and more. In fiscal year 2012, Urban Peak served 2,550 unduplicated youth. For more information, visit www.urbanpeak.org.