Launch Pad Offers LGBTQ Homeless Youth A Safe Place to Sleep

This volunteer-run organization fills a crucial need in Nashville. All youth deserve street-free sleep.

Dec 23, 2015, 14:01 ET from Launch Pad

NASHVILLE, Dec. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Launch Pad is a street-free sleep initiative developed by the LGBTQ and allied community in Nashville to provide temporary sleeping shelters for youth ages 18-24 in Davidson County. We welcome all youth, and LGBTQ youth in particular can feel confident that they will spend the night in a safe and affirming space. Launch Pad works with local churches and over 100 volunteers to provide dinner, bedding, breakfast, and showers for our guests. Our goal is to meet the immediate needs of homeless youth while working toward a broader comprehensive system of care, in partnership with local, state, and federal agencies.

Since Launch Pad started in November 2014, it has:

  • opened for 90 nights
  • hosted 807 guests
  • served 142 unique young adults ages 18-24

LGBTQ and Homelessness

Homelessness and LGBTQ status are closely intertwined. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, family rejection and expulsion based on a youth's sexual orientation or gender identity is the leading cause of LGBTQ youth homelessness. Twenty to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. To further complicate matters, LGBTQ youth frequently find many shelters unwelcoming or unsafe. As an alternative, these individuals are often sexually exploited because they cannot find shelter.

How We Work

Nashville will only open its winter emergency warming shelters when the temperature reaches below freezing -- 25 degrees. Launch Pad is open regardless of the temperature to make sure that homeless young adults have a safe place to sleep.

This winter, Launch Pad is open at three sites, three nights a week. Launch Pad has the passion and the people power, but needs your help to ensure that we have the financial resources to provide for the basic needs of our most vulnerable youth. We have set a funding goal of $25,000 that will go toward mattresses, food, toiletries, operational needs, and winter-weather supplies for our guests throughout 2016. We are 100% staffed by volunteers, so all donations will go directly toward the youth we serve.

  • A $15 donation covers the cost of providing space, food, and supplies for 3 guests a night.
  • A $60 donation covers pizza for a night when we don't have a home cooked meal.
  • A $125 donation covers the cost of a mattress that we can use at a brand new site.

We try to send a message to Nashville's youth that they do matter by meeting a few of their basic needs this winter. All youth deserve street-free sleep.

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SOURCE Launch Pad