- On any given night, there are between 4,000 and 8,000 homeless young people on the streets of New York City, up to 40% of whom identify as LGBTQQ.
- A disproportionate number of these young people are youth of color or immigrants, have mental health diagnoses, and are involved in criminalized survival economies like the sex trades.
- Six out of ten LGBTQQ youth on the streets have already been in foster care and have chosen to live on the streets where they feel safer.
- This chronic, systemic failure to protect LGBTQQ youth from abuse and provide them the resources they need to transition safely to adulthood means these young people are at extremely high risk for homelessness and involvement in criminalized survival activities.
- The young people who we meet exist at the intersections of multiple forms of oppression: most of our clients identify as people of color, and many are also immigrants, mental health consumers, involved in criminalized street economies, and/or HIV+.
- These intersecting oppressions often result in additional life stressors, additional marginalization, and additional barriers to accessing legal services.
We provide free & non-judgmental civil legal services to homeless and street-involved youth.
Some of our most common legal cases include:
- Name and gender marker changes
- Obtaining legal immigration status
- Public assistance and food stamps
- Criminal history reviews
- Improving conditions of confinement for New York City and State prisoners.
We also provide case management services which help eliminate the obstacles young people may face to full participation in their legal cases.
We provide community education to empower young people to exercise their rights. To support our direct services and education, we also engage in long-term policy and litigation strategies to reform the systems in which our clients struggle to survive.
We meet clients through a toll free warm-line and at drop-in legal clinics housed at locations where homeless young people congregate to access food, shelter, healthcare, counseling, case management, and community.