MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — As apart of Montgomery County’s 2021 Pride Month Celebration, Councilmember Evan Glass hosted a conversation about LGBTQ+ housing and homelessness.
About 40% of youth who are homeless identify as LGBTQ+. This is often as a result of families not being accepting of their children’s gender or sexuality. Councilmember Evan Glass says this issue is one we cannot ignore and as a community must work to support our LGBTQ+ homeless youth.
Glass said, “it is really important that we focus on their needs, and try to figure out how to help either prevent them from becoming homeless, or if they are– figuring out the services that we need to provide to help and support them.”
The Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless strives to to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief, and nonrecurring especially for LGBTQ+ youth.
Jennifer Schiller, Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless said, “we are a safe and welcoming place for people to come, but also that we need more resources and we need to build more housing. We need to have safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to go as well.”
Currently Montgomery County does not have a center specifically for youth homelessness, but later this summer a facility called MOCO Reconnect is planning to open and will also have programming specifically for people who identify as LGBTQ+
Connor Hegel, LGBT Services Navigator at SMYAL said, “having an environment where they can go where the staff is knowledgeable about their experience and very sensitive to all the things that we’ve gone through and understanding is incredibly important.”