GR groups team up to support homeless LGBTQ youth

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There is work being done in the community to help LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness find stability.

Grand Rapids HQ, 3:11 Youth Housing, Inner City Christian Federation, Mars Hill Bible Church and Mel Trotter Ministries have partnered up to create safe and affordable housing for LGBTQ people.

The organizations say that LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their straight/cisgender counterparts.

In Grand Rapids, at least one-third of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ. These youth also have higher rates of substance abuse and mental health concerns.

What’s being done?

Through the partnership, a Grand Rapids home, coined the Union House, has been completely renovated to house these individuals. It includes three bedrooms, full bath, kitchen, and a large dining room that will all be used by the youth.

The second floor has two bedrooms that will be utilized by a housing mentor from 3:11 Youth who will provide support to the residents. A case manager will also be available to help residents with tasking issues such as education, vocational goals and budgeting.

“We believe that any and all people who are experiencing homelessness deserve a safe and stable place to call home,” said 3:11 Youth Housing Co-Executive Director Lauren VanKeulen. “Through this unique partnership, financial and local expertise will ensure that individuals are fully supported in their journey to a stable life.”

If you would like to contribute to this program, you can sign up as a volunteer on the Union House’s website.