May 23, 2019 at 8:00 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
SMYAL to open second facility for homeless LGBT youth
SMYAL, gay news, Washington Blade
‘This program is one of the most comprehensive in the region in that it holistically supports a youth’s development,’ said SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The local LGBT youth services group SMYAL announced this week that it will open a second transitional house for homeless LGBT youth in June in the city’s Anacostia neighborhood.

The new 14-bed house in Ward 8 follows the opening in January 2017 of SMYAL’s first house for homeless LGBT youth at 746 19th St., N.E. The first house has 12 beds.

Similar to the first house the new house will be operated by SMYAL through funding from the D.C. Department of Human Services, according to SMYAL spokesperson Hancie Stokes.

“SMYAL once again rises to the challenge of meeting one of the greatest unmet needs in D.C. with this second and largest expansion of our housing program,” said SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir.

“This program is one of the most comprehensive in the region in that it holistically supports a youth’s development in their education, job readiness, mental health, physical health, and most importantly, taps into their inherent sense of resilience to create a path from homelessness to independence,” Shakir said in a statement.

“SMYAL continues to support D.C.’s LGBTQ youth with supportive and affirming clinical care,” said Jorge Membreno, SMYAL’s Director of Youth Housing. “The expanded transitional housing program will build a bridge to sustainable independence through clinical case management, life skills and wellness courses, and resource referrals,” he said.

Stokes said SMYAL has praised D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) for advocating for an increase in city funding for LGBT homeless youth programs, including programs aimed at addressing homeless youth in Ward 8.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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