Housing for LGBTQ+ Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Background: Formation of "Delaware LGBTQ+ Housing Safeguard Committee" and Partnership with West End Neighborhood House

In early 2020, a group of individuals came together to explore ways to support LGBTQ+ youth who are either experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. After engaging the support of area organizations, the group named itself the Delaware LGBTQ+ Housing Safeguard Committee. Represented on this committee are: PFLAG, PTK, AIDs Delaware, West End Neighborhood House, Christiana Care, Orgullo Delaware, Child Inc, and Camp Rehoboth, as well as several private citizens who are passionate about this cause.

Delaware LGBTQ+ Housing Safeguard Committee Vision: To see that LGBTQ+ youth in Delaware live in environments that support their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity/expression.

Delaware LGBTQ+ Housing Safeguard Committee Mission: The DE LGBTQ+ Housing Safeguard Committee will:

1. Develop a process to determine the number of LGBTQ+ Delawarean youth* who are either experiencing homelessness or are living in environments that are not supportive of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

2. Develop collaborative relationships with agency personnel who provide services to youth experiencing homelessness and their families.

3. Provide supportive housing opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth in need through fundraising efforts.

4. Provide LGBTQ+ training and support to foster parent agencies and DFS child protective services personnel.

5. Learn from the successes and challenges of groups similar to us.

6. Support efforts to create legislation for a Homeless Bill of Rights.

7. Assess the effectiveness of our efforts periodically.

Notes:

* “Youth” are individuals between the ages of 13 and 24.

Partnership with WENH: Our group has partnered with West End Neighborhood House, Inc. (WENH) who is constructing a 3-bedroom townhome which they will prioritize for homeless and unaccompanied LGBTQ+ youth (18-23 years old). The townhome is located in the Little Italy section of Wilmington. In order to ensure a caring, supportive environment, this program will be staffed by a Case Manager and potentially a “House Mother” who meet WENH's quality service provider criteria including knowledge in LGBTQ+ matters as well as youth mental health and substance abuse.

Once accepted, the resident’s basic needs are met to ensure a smooth transition into a safe and secure environment, the following valuable services, designed to help the resident achieve independence, will include:

Intensive Case Management:

  • Employment assistance

  • Mental health/substance use support as needed

  • Education assistance

Life Skills:

  • Housing education

  • Money management skills

  • Workshops (including LGBTQ - specific topics)

  • Peer support

  • Convenient access to WENH's Drop-In Center and all of its services

Housing Fee: Residents in this program may be required to pay a monthly housing fee that is based on income and ability to pay.

To inquire about residency: WENH will have an application form available at their website, https://westendnh.org/

New Drop In Center: In addition, WENH is building the first youth Drop-In Center nearby that will provide a safe haven and an escape for homeless and unaccompanied youth from some of their everyday challenges. Some of the Drop-In Center services include:

  • Mailboxes

  • Laundry

  • Meals

  • Shower access

  • Workshops & Events

  • Case Management services

Funding needs: WENH has secured funding for the construction of the townhome but does not have complete, secure funding for the OPERATION of the program. First-year operating costs (which include the furnishing of the townhome and the hiring of a full-time Case Manager and a potential "House Mother") are projected to be $161,000.

Donations: Please consider donating to support this project, by clicking on the "Donate" button at the bottom of this page and selecting "Youth Homelessness". All donations are tax deductible (per IRS regulations).

To learn more about this project, WENH is scheduling a series of Zoom meetings and they are updating their website to include more details. Contact either Stacy Shamburger, the Life Lines Director at WENH (sshamburger@westendnh.org) or email PFLAG at pflagwilmde.pres@gmail.com for additional details.


Below are renderings of the two buildings.

702 Douglas St is the Three-bedroom Townhome:

702 Douglas St is the Three-bedroom Townhome; Below is the Side view of the Drop-In Center.

Drop In Center Side View: