As a college student working at a drop-in center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, Chris Susi saw what happened when resource centers and agencies shut their doors at the end of the day.
Some clients headed home, but the homeless teens ended up trying to find a bed at a city shelter that did not meet their needs or ensure their safety.
While there are many homeless shelters in Boston, there are very few that are dedicated to the needs of LGBT youth. One group is hoping to change that.
“There’s got to be something that can be done between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.,” Susi, 25, said.
With that thought, Susi and a group of three friends, who all identify in some way as LGBT, started a Dorchester-based nonprofit called Inn Motion Inc., with the goal of eventually opening a temporary shelter for LGBT youth.
“LGBT young people have some unique needs. Even traditional separating of biological sex becomes challenging, especially for transgender young people,” said Grace Sterling Stowell, executive director of the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth.
While activists have said the rate of youth homelessness in Massachusetts has increased, a recent study by Children’s Hospital Boston found that LGBT youth face disproportionately high levels of homelessness compared to their straight peers.
Susi’s group launched its fundraising campaign two weeks ago and estimates the group needs about $500,000.