Sleep Out to Raise Awareness for Homeless LGBTQ Youth

Saratogian article, November 29 2017

Sleep-out to raise awareness for homeless LGBTQ youth

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> Dozens will experience the feeling of being homeless in efforts to raise money and awareness for at risk and homeless LGBTQ youth this weekend.

Whispering Angels of Saratoga Springs, a non-profit established earlier this year, will host a sleep-out in the backyard of a Saratoga Springs residence where more than 40 people are committed to sleeping outside, each raising funds to benefit organizations like CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services in Clifton Park.

“Any kind of funding that goes into support on-the-street services to identify youth or in homeless situations or at high-risk situations can only benefit these kids because then you get professionals on the street, working with the youth directly, doing case management, finding housing solutions, finding alternative ways to connect them back to the community for positive support,” said associative executive director Andy Gilpin.

About 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ, which serves as the initial focus of Whispering Angels.

“A lot of these kids couch surf. They may not use the homeless shelters that are there,” said Whispering Angels vice president Melanie Glennon. “They actually send social workers into the woods to help them and give them what they need and provide the services they do and they definitely have a need for more funding.”

In 2016, CAPTAIN’s street outreach program, where social workers literally go to the streets to seek at risk and homeless youth, connected with nearly 3000 youth, most being seen several times, throughout the Capital Region. CAPTAIN helped 68, ages 13-21, off the street.

In 2015, CAPTAIN’s street outreach program, connected with 4600 youth, most being seen several times. CAPTAIN helped 54, ages 13-21, off the street.

This year’s numbers aren’t in yet, but Gilpin expects an increase because of a grant that allowed more staff hiring for the outreach program.

CAPTAIN also houses 13-to-17 year-old children in a youth-shelter program.

In 2016, 108 children came to the shelter, three of which identified as transgender.

In 2015, 109 children came to the shelter, eight of which identified as transgender.

A lesbian couple from Gloversville used to be homeless. They will speak at the event Saturday night.

“It’s really attributed to CAPTAIN and their program,” Glennon said. “I think that’s a really good example of what this is trying to do, and we want to be able to have more stories like that, and that’s our goal. The more stories we can bring to light… I think that’s part of our [mission]. It’s not just giving money, but raising awareness to something I don’t think people know a lot about.”

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Whispering Angels Announces Sleep Out

Saratoga Today Article, November 21, 2017

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Whispering Angels of Saratoga Springs, a newly organized nonprofit for the underserved lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and at-risk youth, announced this week that it will host a “sleep out” in Saratoga Springs to raise funds and increase awareness. 

The event, scheduled on the night of Saturday, Dec. 2, will take place in the backyard of a private residence in Saratoga Springs with more than 40 people committed to sleep outside. Each person sleeping outdoors will be raising money for her or his efforts.

A pre-sleep out rally will take place first to raise additional funds and wish participants well. People are welcome to join Whispering Angels of Saratoga Springs (WASS) by sleeping out with them or by donating to the cause.

“The WASS Board of Directors is thrilled to have launched this exciting, new, philanthropic nonprofit organization in hopes of raising necessary funds for the Capital District and surrounding area’s underserved LGBT community, and particularly its at-risk youth who are often homeless,” says Tas Steiner, a Whispering Angels founder and board member.

According to Whispering Angels, 40 percent of homeless youth in the United States under the age of 25 identify as LGBT.

In June, after raising initial funds, Whispering Angels had a soft launch and its 11 board members voted unanimously to make their first contribution to Saratoga Pride, an organization that supports LGBT awareness and causes.

Money raised from the Dec. 2 sleep out will go directly to organizations that support homeless youth. 

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