Valley Youth House’s Pride program is the longest running housing program for LGBTQ youth in Philadelphia. Started in 2009, Pride gives youth the opportunity to embrace their identity and overcome the obstacles presented by housing insecurities and homelessness. In 2017, VYH launched Pride in the Lehigh Valley.
Pride provides housing and supportive services for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Youth are provided a safe place to be themselves and gain support to make the typical transitions that occur during late adolescence and early adulthood.
Sheltering Pride is a fundraising campaign launched by the VYH Board of Governors. Currently serving 25 youth annually, Sheltering Pride’s goal is to double the number of youth served in the Pride program by 2017.
#CouchesDontCount is an advocacy campaign launched in October 2015 to raise awareness for the disproportionate rate of young people experiencing homelessness who identify as LGBTQ. In stark comparison to the general population’s average of 7%, national studies show that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.
Where does the couch come from, you ask? The most recent Youth Count in Philadelphia suggests that as many as 64% of youth experiencing homelessness are couch surfing, or staying with friends or acquaintances rather than sleeping unsheltered. The message is that #CouchesDontCount as stable housing for any young person experiencing homelessness, including those that identify as LGBTQ.