VYH Advocates for Homeless LGBTQ+ Youth at the State Capitol
Valley Youth House took its #CouchesDontCount campaign to Harrisburg on Monday, June 5th, to advocate for homeless LGBTQ+ youth to legislators and visitors in the capitol building. With the support of Representative Brian Sims, a Philadelphia-based politician and dedicated advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, VYH occupied the capitol rotunda with a couch to raise awareness about the disproportionate number of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as the fact that at least half of homeless youth are couch surfing from friend to friend.
#CouchesDontCount recognizes that couches are not stable housing for young people, and that this population needs services and resources. It supports VYH’s Pride program, which helps LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness to further their education and achieve independent, stable housing. The campaign has held several pop-up couch events since its inception in 2015, but this was the first to take place in the state’s capitol. In addition to a short speech by Representative Sims, other elected officials attending included Rep. Dan Frankel, the Democratic Caucus Chairman and LGBT Equality Caucus leader; Sen. Daylin Leach, and Rep. Warren Kampf. A large group of VYH supporters were present, including President and CEO Tom Harrington and a group of youth from VYH’s Lancaster office.
More pictures from our #CouchesDontCount Harrisburg Day can be found here.