Strengthening Practices for LGTBQIA+ Homeless Youth through Trauma-Informed Care

Publisher: Alex Hylka

Strengthening Practices for LGTBQIA+ Homeless Youth through Trauma-Informed Care

ICOY’s November blog post recognized Youth Homelessness Awareness Month. The post highlighted several demographics of youth which face disproportionate incidences of homelessness. One of the demographics recognized was the LGTBQIA+ youth community, who is significantly more susceptible to homelessness. LGBTQIA+ individuals constitute only 7% of youth nationwide, yet represent upwards of 40% of youth experiencing homelessness. Homelessness presents massive negative implications for mental illness and overall poorer health outcomes. The intrinsic challenges of identifying as LGTBQIA+ in a culture which has long discriminated against this community compound the risks of homelessness.

Meet the Panelists

To bring more awareness to this issue, ICOY is hosting a panel, “Strengthening Practices for LGBTQIA+ Homeless Youth through Trauma-Informed CareMonday, January 24, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm. It will host representatives from Chicago organizations which serve LGTBQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness. The panelists will examine the impact of trauma on this community and how trauma-informed care can serve them. In addition, the panel also hopes to raise awareness and brainstorm possible solutions for this pervasive issue. Meet the panelists below!

Luke Romesberg, Center on Halsted

Luke Romesberg (he/him/his), Director of Youth Homeless Services, Center on Halsted.

Since November 2021, Luke has been serving as the Director of Youth Services at Center on Halsted. Though new to this position, Luke’s interests include youth social work, particularly in preventing incarceration. The transition to his current position was a natural one due to his passion for serving marginalized communities, including LGTBQIA+ youth.

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood.

Khelan Todd, Howard Brown Health

Khelan Todd (he/him/his), Broadway Youth Center Director, Howard Brown Health

Before his appointment as Broadway Youth Center (BYC) Director in August of 2021, Khelan has been passionate about serving his community and uplifting marginalized individuals. Because of his background involves integrative care and harm reduction, Khelan’s experience informs his extensive interest in serving young people confronting homelessness. As Broadway Youth Center Director, Khelan oversees the extensive services they provide to LGTBQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness.

BYC works to improve the quality of life experienced by LGTBQIA+ youth (12-24) in addition to those who are underserved, and/or experiencing homelessness through the provision of youth-centered integrated healthcare and social services. Furthermore, BYC sees anyone, regardless of ability to pay.

Cheris Larson, Project Oz

Cheris Larson (she/her/hers), Program Manager, Project Oz

For over 14 years, Cheris has been working with Project Oz, beginning as a street outreach specialist. As a social worker, her interest and experience in serving underrepresented populations is extensive. In her role as program manager, Cheris oversees the operations of the Bloomington-based foundation. Project Oz is committed to making a positive difference for young people and families. With programming focused on housing, education, crisis intervention and more, this organization fosters wellbeing and safety for those it serves.

David Biele, Center on Halsted

David Biele (he/him/his), Director of Youth Services, Center on Halsted

During his 4+ years at Center on Halsted, David has focused on youth outreach and services. With his background in grant writing and community outreach, David is responsible for all youth services across housing and the development of new services.

Register for “Strengthening Practices for LGBTQIA+ Homeless Youth through Trauma-Informed Care”

Certainly, after meeting the panelists, we know the event will create insightful discussion! Join the conversation on Monday, January 24, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm by registering today.

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