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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR- 439-09
October 5, 2009

MAYOR BLOOMBERG APPOINTS MEMBERS OF CITY'S COMMISSION FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND QUESTIONING RUNAWAY AND HOMELESS YOUTH

Commission Will Establish a Comprehensive Agenda for Addressing the Root Causes of Running Away and Homelessness Among LGBTQ Youth

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announces the appointment of 25 civic leaders to the New York City Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Runaway and Homeless Youth, which is charged with devising strategies to address the unique needs of LGBTQ youth before they run away, to provide homeless youth with both shelter and the support they need to live independently, or to help them reunite with their families when appropriate.  The New York Women’s Foundation President and CEO Ana L. Oliveira will serve as Chair, and Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav will serve as Director.

DYCD administers a continuum of services that includes Drop-in Centers and Crisis Shelters, Transitional Independent Living programs, and Street Outreach and Referral Services.  Since 2007, DYCD has developed ten new residential sites in order to expand options for young people.  The Commission’s objective is to create a coordinated agenda for meeting the diverse needs of LGBTQ youth, who are disproportionately represented among runaway and homeless youth.  The Commission will evaluate best practices to bolster and coordinate existing services in order to more effectively foster healthy communication among LGBTQ youth and their families while providing shelter and effective support services to homeless youth.

“New York City may be one of the most tolerant places on earth, but LGBTQ youth still face daily discrimination that forces many of them to leave home and sometimes make risky decisions,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Today we are opening up a new front focused on serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people.  The Commission’s recommendations will address the root causes of homelessness among this population and provide a blueprint for innovative and evidence-based solutions.”

 “LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth face a unique set of challenges – from greater exposure to HIV/AIDS – to being ostracized by their families and communities,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.  “The group of experts serving on the New York City LGBTQ Runaway and Homeless Youth Commission give me great hope that we will be able to develop innovative solutions to confront these challenges.”

“After more than a dozen hearings about the plight of the LGBTQ homeless and runaway youth community, I have seen first hand the challenges they face. I am glad to see this commission come together and applaud the Mayor for his efforts,” said Lewis A. Fidler, Chair of City Council’s Youth Services Committee.

“It is an honor to join Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Mullgrav in addressing an issue of such great importance to not only the LGBTQ community, but all New Yorkers who want the best for our young people,” said New York Women’s Foundation President and CEO Ana Oliveira.  “The Commission will tap into the ingenuity and expertise of a broad range of practitioners, thought leaders, community advocates and young people.”

“In 2006, we redesigned the City’s network of services for Runaway and Homeless Youth, with a special focus on meeting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.  The Commission will serve as a forum for experts in the field to share best practices and together devise a plan to keep lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth out of harm’s way and on the path to productive adulthood,” said Commissioner Mullgrav.  “While the obstacles we face are large, the members of this Commission have the experience and commitment required to overcome them and move towards a future where no young person, regardless of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, will ever be compelled to spend a night on the street.”

Commission Members

Chair

Ana L. Oliveira, President and Chief Executive Officer, The New York Women’s Foundation

Director

Jeanne B. Mullgrav, Commissioner, Department of Youth and Community Development

Commission Members

Eliza Byard, PhD, Executive Director; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

Angela Diaz, Director, Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center

Jeffrey Fishberger, MD, Supervising Psychiatrist, Samuel’s Center for Comprehensive Care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center

Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Gay Men’s Health Crisis

Jerome Kilbane, Chief Executive Officer, Covenant House 

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah

Thomas Krever, MPA, Executive Director, Hetrick-Martin Institute

Douglas Lasdon, Executive Director and Founder, Urban Justice Center

Nancy Mahon, Executive Director, M∙A∙C AIDS Fund

Rickke Mananzala, Executive Director, FIERCE

Robert McMahon, Executive Director, SCO Family Services

Christine Molnar, Executive Director, Safe Space

Theresa Nolan, Director of NYC Programs, Green Chimneys Children’s Services

Rev. Franc Perry, Staff Pastor, First Metropolitan Community Church of Atlanta

Cindy T. Rizzo, Senior Director, Arcus Foundation

Therese Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer, Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS (APICHA)

Carl Siciliano, Founder and Executive Director, Ali Forney Center

Wendy Stark, Executive Director, Callen Lorde Community Health

Glennda Testone, Executive Director, LGBT Community Center

Rev. Dr. Terry Troia, Pastor, New Utrecht Reformed Church in Brooklyn

Nancy Wackstein, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Houses

Lisa Winters, Executive Director, Bronx Community Pride Center

Michael Zisser, Chief Executive Officer, The Door







MEDIA CONTACT:


Stu Loeser / Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

Ryan Dodge   (DYCD)
(212) 442-5979

Eunic Ortiz (Speaker)   (212) 788-9441




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