2016 was a year of big changes for New Alternatives. After four years at St John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street, we moved to Metro Baptist Church in midtown. In addition to a larger kitchen and dining area, our new space features separate offices for administration and case management, and our close proximity to Sylvia’s Place allows us to collaborate with their overnight shelter for LGBTQ homeless youth.
In the past year, New Alternatives served dinner on 51 Sunday evenings with a total of 1,616 individual meals served. Our weekly Life Skills Group following each dinner addressed topics such as childhood trauma, substance use, police violence, HIV, and Hepatitis C. In addition to our existing clients, we welcomed a total of 154 new LGBTQ homeless youth aged 24 and under.
We also continued our twice-weekly Case Management program and provided 941 sessions of case management to 227 unique LGBTQ homeless youth. The 1,647 client needs that were addressed through these individual sessions ranged from finding shelter to applying for college. We helped young people obtain their identifying documents, apply for benefits, complete permanent housing applications, access mental health services and solve a wide variety of problems. Through our Angel Donor program, we were able to respond to 46 urgent requests that included bus tickets home, uniforms for work, college textbooks and MetroCards for youth starting new jobs.
Our program supporting homeless college students continued providing practical and emotional support to students at Brandeis, Brooklyn College, Hunter College and various community colleges. The support included finding donors to pay for textbooks and class supplies, as well as counseling to help youth deal with the difficult transition from shelter life to college life.
During 2016, we were able to send a group of youth to the annual Arts in the Woods summer camp for LGBT youth, take a group of clients to Cyndi Lauper’s Home for the Holidays concert, attend Mayor de Blasio’s press conference on services for homeless youth and attend a play at the NY Film Academy. We also held our popular annual Christmas Party with an amazing meal donated by YCATS catering.
This year our partnership with Project Stay at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital expanded to include much-needed psychiatric services in addition to medical care at their clinic and onsite HIV and STD screenings. We also introduced a new group for our clients, a Dialetical Behavioral Therapy group aimed at helping them develop the ability to manage their emotions and impulses.
We are grateful to the organizations and individual donors who provided financial support to New Alternatives in 2016. You mad these critical programs possible for our clients. Thank you!