NY Coalition Calls for More Funding for Homeless Youth...
The #5000TooMany campaign calls for more state funding to increase the number of beds in New York's homeless youth shelters.
Advocates and lawmakers in New York State want to combat overcrowding in homeless youth shelters.
Data from the New York State Office of Children and Family services says more than 5,000 kids were turned away from shelters in 2012 due to lack of beds. Allison Steinberg with the Empire State Pride Agenda says many of these kids have no place to turn.
"Thousands of young people are forced to sleep on subway grates in the street in the winter to try to stay warm."
Steinberg says the issue's particularly serious for the LGBT population, as studies estimate about 40% of New York's homeless youth identify as LGBT.
Steinberg says LGBT youth across the country come to New York seeking refuge when they've been kicked out of their family homes. And having no safe place to stay can cause these kids, as well as other homeless youths, to turn to desparate and dangerous measures to survive.
"They turn to sex work, unfortunately," Steinberg said. "They are, as a result more likely to be infected by HIV and certainly other health concerns as well."
Advocates like Steinberg have teamed up with elected officials to launch the #5000TooMany Campaign. It's urging the State Legislature to allocate nearly $4.75 million dollars of the 2015 budget toward creating an additional 1,000 beds in homeless youth shelters.