The Mayor Must Protect Homeless Youth

“The Adams administration, simply put, must do more to address the historic crisis of youth homelessness our city faces. Instead, the administration has made policies that will create a worse situation for some of the most vulnerable young people.”

A window outside St Brigid's School

Adi Talwar

A window outside the St. Brigid’s School in the East Village, which is now serving as a “reticketing center” for migrants seeking more time in the shelter system.

In March, city officials announced a settlement that limited the right to shelter. Many of those who will be most impacted by this agreement are Black and Latinx. Some are LGBTQIA+ young people we see daily at the Free to be Youth Project, including youth who are fleeing discrimination or torture due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Like all homeless youth, those who have recently come to the United States face a gauntlet of limited or non-existent youth-oriented servicesbureaucratic barriers, and high-risk encounters with police. But they also face barriers to services in the language they speak, and must navigate a complex immigration system, typically with almost no support and no legal representation.

LGBTQIA+ homeless youth are disproportionately likely to suffer serious violence and experience suicidality, while migrant and refugee homeless youth are at high-risk for exploitation and violence. Now, they will be systematically pushed onto the street by cruel municipal policy, putting them at further risk for life-threatening harm. 

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