‘Encampment’ brings attention to homeless LGBT youth/ Castro SF CA

by Accidental Bear

This tickles my heart string for personal reasons. One day we’ll sit down with a box of tissue, take out Chinese food and chocolate in 10 different forms. We all get bombarded with homeless people daily and most likely we walk over top of them as we would any other stray object on the sidewalk. SF is famous destination spot for homeless gay runaways all hoping to land in a glamorous new life or in the hands of a sugar daddy. Unfortunately it most likely doesn’t end up as “glamorous” as it all sounds. Homeless youth gather in a sort of Take Back the Night type of rally. ~AB

Castro nightclub patrons were startled last Saturday night when several dozen homeless youth and their allies established a temporary encampment around the stairs at Harvey Milk Plaza, part of a day of actions meant to bring attention to budget cuts for groups that provide housing to at-risk LGBT youth.

The May 14 encampment was part of a nationwide demonstration to raise awareness of homelessness among a demographic known as transition-age youth. Homeless and foster youth between 16 and 24 years old can face unique housing challenges, particularly as they age out of the foster care system and learn to navigate services for adults.

“We’re here to engage the community on homelessness, and specifically queer homeless youth issues,” said organizer Beck, who uses only one name. “We’re in kind of a state of emergency, saying, ‘hey community, wake up.'”

Saturday’s action started at Civic Center with games, an unveiling of protest banners, and hot meals served by Food Not Bombs. A march proceeded to Harvey Milk Plaza, where speakers read poetry and called for improved access to services to get off the street.

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