WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Uptown's homeless LGTBQ teen population now has a place to call home, thanks to the first drop-in center that will provide them with a safe place to shower and get supplies to apply for work, officials said.
State Sen. Marisol Alcantara, who announced that the drop-in center was receiving $100,000 in state funding Thursday afternoon, said in a statement that these kinds of spaces are “vital for helping homeless youth access information, medical treatment, and employment resources that can keep them in school and on track or meaningful career and a healthy, happy life.”
The center, located in Holyrood Episcopal Church on 715 W. 179th St., will be managed through the Dominican Women’s Development Center.
“Something as simple as a shower can give a sense of dignity to our homeless population that can be very hard to find, and we must do better as a society to treat everyone with such dignity,” Alcántara said.
The Dominican Women’s Development Center — which has been in the community for more than two decades — will “enhance its current programming as well as provide new services for homeless youth,” according to a statement. The center already provides prenatal health, ESL classes, legal services and child care to members of the community.
“The challenges of sexual orientation, gender identity, and homelessness in our Washington Height Community are factual and we need to look at them from a human rights perspective,” said Rev. Luis Barrios, who works with the local church and organization, in a statement.
He added that he looks at the drop-in center as “a space for empowerment with sympathy, compassion, love, and respect for those who suffer isolation and oppression in our unjust society.”