By Regina Walton on
Cyndi Lauper is putting her celebrity and connections together to open Manhattan’s first shelter for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
The housing complex will be located in Harlem and will be named The True Colors Residence. The residence is set to open in winter of 2011. Young people between 18 and 24 will get a place to live to help them get back on their feet, and the residence will be located on W. 154th St near Frederick Douglas Boulevard.
The idea was conceived by Lauper, her publicist Lisa Barbaris, and Colleen Jackson, who is the executive director of the West End Intergenerational Residence, an Upper West Side facility which helps young families and older low-income adults. Lauper will donate money for the facility through her True Colors Fund. She is also championing and promoting the residence.
By law, the city of New York has to provide anyone who wants it a place to sleep. However, in mainstream shelters homeless LGBT youth can be victims of violence. This forces them to rely on an even smaller network of gay-friendly facilities. Because LGBT youth make up 40% of the runaway population in New York, this shelter will be able to fill a significant gap.
“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,” said Lauper in a statement. “We need to make sure we’re taking care of them. This is the next generation of the LGBT community.”
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