Cathy Kristofferson, January 29, 2013.
In the fall of 2011 I saw posts online about a new queer youth shelter opening in Atlanta. Local homeless queer youth were being turned away from shelters and three locals who had been frustrated in their attempts to find them help, took it upon themselves to create an organization with an innovative protocol to fill the need.
They called a community meeting and raised $9,000. Since that initial funding came by way of the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the new organization named themselves after the Sisters, “Saint Lost and Found.” I eagerly watched online following their progress wishing I could somehow do the same here in Massachusetts.
This past weekend I was at the NGLTF Creating Change conference and was thrilled to discover an evening caucus was being presented by the now Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc. nonprofit corporation whose mission is to take homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth off the street and transition them into more permanent housing arrangements, while operating a 24/7/365 hotline as well as a 6-bed housing facility. Wow. They also do lots of street outreach.
Like Massachusetts, Georgia has a 72-hour reporting mandate, so they are forced to restrict service to youth ages 18 up to their 26th birthday. One of the presenters did admit he loses sleep because they can’t help the under 18 youth other than with street outreach.