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'It’s a blessing' | Organizations seeking to help LGBTQ homeless youth in Mecklenburg County

Roof Above provides rental assistance for the adults living at Journey Place, to make sure it stays affordable.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Several different organizations are seeking solutions to give young adults, who are homeless and part of the LGBTQ community, a safe place to call home in Mecklenburg County. 

Data shows LGBTQ young people are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ youth. 

According to research from The Trevor Project, 28% or nearly one in three LGBTQ youth will experience homelessness at some point in their lives; 62% also reported having seriously considered suicide in the last year. 

If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.

Through an ongoing collaboration with Time Out Youth and Roof Above, The Relatives will house four young adults experiencing homelessness in a newly renovated, suite-style, four-bedroom house called Journey Place.

“It’s a blessing," John Washington said.

For Washington, having a home to go to wasn't always guaranteed. 

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“I was homeless when I first turned 19,” Washington said. 

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At 22 years old, Washington has been in and out of foster care and has no family support -- but he says he did find support through Time Out Youth, a nonprofit that offers support to LGBTQ youth ages 13-24.

“Sometimes they have been shunned or rejected from an early age,” The Relatives executive director Trish Hobson said.  

The Relatives provides youth, who are often homeless or feeling trapped by adversity, with the safety and security they need.

In this model, they provide the home and Time Out Youth provides the tenants. The rent is $500 per month. 

“We really want our young people to feel they are worthy of this kind of housing," Hobson said.

Hobson says the LGBTQ community faces many barriers when it comes to accessing safe and affordable housing. 

RELATED: Ban on 'source of income discrimination' expands in Mecklenburg County

“Legally landlords cannot discriminate against the LGBTQ population, but it still happens," Hobson said. “It can be sort of subtle, it can be they show up on site an apartment is no longer available, so it’s often really difficult.”  

It's a difficult situation, especially when stable housing is the foundation of a successful life. But a collaboration between several housing partners is helping young people find meaning and purpose in their life again.

“You have to believe in yourself, for things to happen cause the only person who can convince you to do something is yourself," Washington said.

Roof Above provides rental assistance for the adults living at Journey Place, to make sure it stays affordable. If you or someone you know need assistance, contact The Relatives at 704-501-8252 or visit The Relatives online.

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.

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