Read About Us In a Yahoo News Story: Shuttered LGBTQ community centers feel shutdown fallout: ‘It’s been really hard’
Now that LGBTQ centers are closed, hopefully temporarily, and despite the fact that many have brought their support services to video platforms, directors are worried about what the future will bring to the clients who rely on them for vital services.
“One of biggest things that’s been so hard is one out of three [of our clients] was experiencing homelessness, and we have zero connection to them right now,” says Jessie Pocock, executive director of Inside Out Youth Services in Colorado Springs, Colo., which serves clients ages 13 to 22 and saw up to 50 kids enter their doors each day before closing. “They have no cellphones, they’re living in camps or on the streets. They would come for the food pantry, for clean clothes every day, and they would connect with each other. The hardest thing for us has been figuring out, how do we get them support when we aren’t open?”
Pocock tells Yahoo Life that El Paso County, where the 30-year-old center is located, “has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the nation and that it is the leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 17.” What makes this particularly difficult, she adds, is that “LGBTQ youth are three times as likely to seriously consider suicide in Colorado. Our work is literally lifesaving for these young people.” Read the full story here.