The congregation expressed desire to provide safe spaces and other support for LGBTQ youth. Despite our initial research, we are not aware of any public study that assesses the needs of Montgomery County youth – let alone LGBTQ youth.
In further exploration, we have learned there is NO youth shelter in the county. Youth experiencing homelessness (of which 40% are in the LGBTQ community) must go to a hotel or adult shelter, live on the street, or couch surf. Besides housing needs, we learned of the immense needs of Montgomery County youth for emergency assistance, food, clothing, counseling, GED preparation, etc. There is NO Montgomery County health clinic where youth can obtain hormone and HIV/AIDS meds.
As a first step, RUC will have to initiate a needs assessment study before we determine where we will focus our time, energy, and resources. In addition, we will need to explore potential community partnerships (such as SMYAL, MoCo Reconnect, Community Reach) because we do not have the resources/expertise within our congregation to create shelters or transitional housing. The proposed cost includes seed money for youth transitional housing.