Five agencies have come together to renovate and open affordable housing and a support program for homeless youth, specifically targeting LGBTQ youth.
The Union House is completely renovated and features a first-floor unit, which includes three bedrooms, a full bath, a kitchen and a large dining room. The second-floor unit has two bedrooms, a full bath and a deck off the kitchen that will be utilized by a 3:11 Youth Housing mentor.
Grand Rapids HQ, 3:11 Youth Housing, Inner City Christian Federation, Mars Hill Bible Church and Mel Trotter Ministries contributed financial and in-kind resources and local expertise to the project. ICCF completed the renovations.
Referrals to the house will be made from HQ, a drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness. Mel Trotter will be providing case management support.
Specific holistic supports will be offered to LGBTQ youth, a population that is arguably one of the most vulnerable groups experiencing homelessness today.
The in-home mentor will provide regular support to the residents, and a case manager will be available to support individuals in reaching long-term educational and vocational goals, as well as budgeting for rent and utilities.
LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ counterparts. In Grand Rapids, at least one-third of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ, the partners said.
Homelessness leaves youth at risk of compounding trauma and being victims of crime and human trafficking. These youth also have higher rates of substance abuse and mental health concerns, the partners said.