Queer homeless people have been struggling to survive in New York for quite long. Among them, homeless youths were the most vulnerable category. Big Apple almost neglected them for a while. Recently, a glimpse of hope emerged, promising some relief. It was last year, before the pandemic, when Unify Works secured a 4-year contract aimed to address the most pressing needs homeless queer youths have been facing. The program was supposed to start on July 1, 2020. Coronavirus ruined it all.
Despite numerous declarations of support for the LGBTQ community made by Mayor de Blasio, the contract has been suspended, or as authorities prefer to put it, “paused”. But for how long is this gonna last? There is no definite answer to this question. What is sure is that the coronavirus severely hit homeless queer youths. With limited food supply and masks available, they are absolutely defenseless. It all could have changed if they received education or employment, as the program suggested. Not for this time. One more time.
The defunding decision was made despite numerous calls from LGBTQ advocating organizations and a group of LGBTQ candidates for the City Council.
“We must ensure we are taking a multifaceted approach in eliminating these social issues, and putting funds directly into their hands is a step closer to our shared goal. In short, we must invest in our LGBTQ youth. Your commitment to launching Unity Works must continue during this current public health crisis,” as Jumaane Williams, Public Advocate, put it.
Despite the signers expressed their understanding of possible city budget due to coronavirus but urged the authorities to fund the program, the authorities remain reluctant. Elisa Crespo, one of the City Council candidates, called it “poor decision”. That is exactly what it is. What’s more, the decision will definitely worsen living conditions for homeless LGBTQ youths, not saying for them to loose the very last hope for a better life.