The singer is opening the first permanent residence for LGBT youths in Manhattan with her True Colors Fund.
As previously reported, Cyndi Lauper is using her stint on The Celebrity Apprentice to further her already vocal support for gay rights. She recently launched the Give a Damn campaign through her True Colors Fund. The new campaign encourages everyone — gay, straight, transgender, lesbian, bisexual — to get informed about and involved with LGBT issues and causes. Now, Lauper is localizing her campaign even more by opening a shelter for homeless LGBT youths in Harlem.
According to DNA Info, advocates say that “Many homeless LGBT youth face violence in mainstream shelters, forcing them to rely on a small network of gay-friendly facilities.”The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reports that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 homeless youths in New York City, and, of that number, roughly 3,000 to 8,000 of them identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
The True Colors Residence, which is slated to open in 2011, will offer a safe haven for LGBT youths between the ages of 18 to 24 who need a place to stay while they get back on their feet. It will be the first permanent residence in Manhattan for LGBT homeless young adults. The $11 million of funding for the six-story building, which will “contain 30 studio apartments, communal space, a library and a computer room” will come from Lauper’s True Colors Fund, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and some additional corporate, city and state sources.
In a statement about what inspired her to open the new shelter, Lauper said: “Kids are coming out in greater numbers as they see themselves accepted and represented on TV and in movies, but they’re still being kicked out of their homes or running away and living on the streets. We need to make sure we’re taking care of them. This is the next generation of the LGBT community.”
The four emergency and two transitional shelters that currently exist in New York City only provide temporary solutions for LGBT youths coping with difficult living situations or negative feedback in response to their coming out. Many youth programs only shelter people up to the age of 21, so the 3 year addition to the age span at the True Colors Shelter will help even more young adults transition through what is often an extremely difficult time in their lives.