Have you ever been greeted by a cat named Burglar? Pride Foundation recently had the opportunity to tour the new facility of one of our 2013 grantee organizations: Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets (PSKS). This new location is three times the size of their old space, with an airy main drop-in space with couches, a pool table, and a fully functional kitchen. At PSKS, youth experiencing homelessness can participate in H.Y.P.E. (Homeless Youth for Peace and Empowerment), which is “a peer-driven day program…including workshops, community meetings, slumber parties for the squatters count, volunteerism, and outreach.”
During our visit, a few young people were busy sorting cords and unpacking the new technology room that will give these youth an opportunity to access resources, check email, and apply for jobs. PSKS has the youth experiencing homelessness front and center in their planning and programs through their CORE Membership program. This program gives members a voice when it comes to the agency’s fulfillment of its mission and direction of services.
PSKS commitment to providing services with low barriers means the most vulnerable youth in our community are given a starting point for seeking housing resources. They even provide drop-in hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12pm-3pm and youth can bring their animal companions, such as Burglar, with them.
With assistance from the Pride Foundation and Beyond the Bridge, PSKS will continue their Queer Youth Outreach program this year. As part of their Lasting Employment Advancement Program (LEAP), Queer Youth Outreach Interns are hired to work 15 hours a week for three months in order to gain valuable employment experience. Not only does this provide interns with needed income, it gives them an opportunity to work on meaningful projects for the community. Queer Youth Outreach interns work specifically on community organizing and advocacy projects for homeless LGBTQ youth.
Here at Pride Foundation, we’re glad to support organizations such as PSKS in their work with homeless LGBTQ youth, because supporting these types of programs reflects our mission to advance full equality for all LGBTQ people. As a social justice philanthropy organization, we are excited to highlight the work of grantees that uplift those in our community who have been marginalized and historically disenfranchised, such as homeless LGBTQ youth. It is through their work that Pride Foundation’s vision of a world in which all LGBTQ youth, adults, and families enjoy the freedom to live safely, openly, and genuinely is being realized.
Want to learn more? Check out PSKS online.
Gunner Scott is Pride Foundation’s Director of Programs. Email Gunner.