In a study conducted by Williams Institute, shocking statistics appeared. About forty percent of the Chicago LGBT youth community were homeless. For many of these young teens, running away from home deemed to be the only option. Many would also be sexually, emotionally, and physically abused for coming out to their friends and family. It becomes systemic oppression at its finest and the tipping point for these youth. The streets become safer than their own homes.
Four medical students from the Chicago Gay Medical Students Association decided to take a stand. With a very small college student budget, a tiny room crammed above a grocery store with the scent of strong coffee brewing from the electric coffee pot, and a plethora of passion and commitment, Howard Brown Health clinic was born in 1974, named after Dr. Howard Brown, an advocate for gay rights.
The clinic has helped a ton of young men and women in crucial need of help. The Broadway Youth Center, one of the many branches of Howard Brown Health, has helped over 1,500 teens and young adults in need of shelter, clothing, medical care and check-ups, etc. These services are completely free to young people from ages 12 to 24. A few of the medical services provided include pregnancy tests, vaccines, HIV/STI testing, and gender-affirming hormone therapy.
Not only does this center help with health related areas, but also provides assistance with job applications, scholarships, and college/high school tutoring. It has truly become a safe haven for many young people and will continue to do so for a very long time.
CALL TO ACTION:
For ways to become more involved with this organization, please visit http://howardbrown.org/volunteer/
The Broadway Youth Center has partnered up with Brown Elephant Resale Shop to collect donations to keep their center running and provide for the youth. To donate please visit http://howardbrown.org/brown-elephant/donate/
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Picture credit: thisisdk.com