NEW YORK — New York City is creating a multi-agency project in hopes of better coordinating and expanding existing services for LGBT youth, WNYC reports. The effort includes a focus on health programs, homeless services, suicide prevention and added supports in the public schools.
First Lady Chirlane McCray launched the initiative Tuesday, which city officials are calling NYC Unity, by calling awareness to the specific needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning or queer youth. These young people are vulnerable to violence, bullying, homelessness and mental health issues, she said, according to WNYC.
“To all of our city’s LGBT young people — especially those just discovering their sexuality or identity, or those feeling isolated and afraid — take it from me, you are not alone,” WNYC quoted her as having said. “You are wonderful and New York City will always have your back.”
Speaking from the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan, McCray invoked her own personal story of being part of New York City’s LGBT community in the late 1970s. She found support and encouragement from friends, though not necessarily from political leaders, she said.
The city will invest $4.8 million in NYC Unity, which will include opening a new 24-hour drop-in center specifically for LGBT youth in Jamaica, Queens. The center is slated to open next month.
The city currently has one other 24-hour drop-in center for LGBT young people in Harlem, WNYC reports.