COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – There is a lot of work leading up to one of the country’s largest pride parades. Saturday expect to see folks fill the streets downtown; the same streets that homeless LGBTQ kids sleep on.
Dominique Monahan knows this firsthand as a homeless member of the LGBTQ community.
“It scares me because I know there’s so many hate crimes and I know homeless people are targeted to hate crimes. They get killed all the time,” Monahan said.
Homeless LGBTQ youth represent up to 40% of the homeless youth population even though they make up only about 7% of the overall youth population in the us. The amount of resources for them is limited but help is there at the star house drop in center. Last year staff said they helped more than 1200 kids total. Devin Deal is a youth advocate at the Star House drop in center.
“25% to 40% of the youth we see here are actually part of the LGBTQ community . It is a problem that maybe they feel outcast by their families,” said Deal.
When they get here Deal and staff step in to act as family offering resources like a place to sleep, eat and shower.
“I try to leave during the day because I feel unsafe in Columbus at night,” said Monahan.
Deal said many of these kids just want someone listen to them.
“I don’t think a lot of families understand who they are or what they are going though,” Deal said.
Right now Star House is Monahan’s family. Monahan is interviewing for jobs and says it’s important to encourage kids in the LGBTQ community who are struggling.
“I want to help them more than I want to help myself. Even though I’m going though homelessness too, I feel like they deserve my help too. I try to give to the community and it comes back,” said Monahan.