Up to $1.5 million will be provided by the |Ontario Government over three years for a mental health support crisis services centre in downtown Toronto for LGBTQ2S ( Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit) youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced this major investment on Tuesday in Toronto. The drop-in centre, run by Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, provides an array of mental health and other services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirited (LGBTQ2S) young people. These services include crisis intervention, mental health and addictions counselling, referrals to housing, and other community supports and culturally sensitive services for Indigenous youth.
Wynne said: “The rate of homelessness among LGBTQ2S youth is unacceptable. Our government is proud to support Egale Canada’s groundbreaking project. This mental health support crisis centre offers an accepting and welcoming place to get the kind of help that can make a profound difference in young people’s lives.”
The investment will help deliver on Ontario’s priority to target youth homelessness, as well as its plan to end chronic homelessness in 10 years. LGBTQ2S youth experience far higher rates of homelessness than other young people. The government’s Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness reported that LGBTQ2S youth often avoid seeking help from services for homeless people because of concerns about homophobia and transphobia.
- GBTQ2S youth make up 25 to 40 per cent of homeless youth, far higher than their five to 10 per cent share of the youth population.
- Many LGBTQ2S youth face violence and harassment in schools, families and communities that contributes to much higher rates of abuse, addiction, suicide, and poor mental and physical health than among other young people.
- Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, founded in 1995, is Canada’s only national charity promoting LGBTQ2S human rights through research, education and community engagement. – CINEWS / Pic: egale.ca