COUNCILMEMBER DE BLASIO INTRODUCES LEGISLATION
City Hall - Today, Councilmember Bill de Blasio, Chair of the General Welfare Committee, introduced a bill to create a division within the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene specifically to address the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in New York City.
“As Chair of the City Council’s General Welfare Committee, I have spent the past several years overseeing the City agencies designed to help our most in-need populations. When we see that nearly one-third of New York City’s homeless youth identify as LGBT, it is clear that our existing programs aren’t doing the job, and we are allowing these youth to fall through the cracks of our social services net. Establishing an office to address the unique needs of this vulnerable population will help to ensure that youth who identify as LGBT are safe, healthy and cared for,” said Councilmember Bill de Blasio.
“Every day the Ali Forney Center serves hundreds of LGBT youth who have been thrown out of their homes and into the streets. It is painfully clear to us from the stories they tell that far too many LGBT youth are not safe in their homes, in their schools, and in their local communities. We applaud Councilmember de Blasio for introducing this bill, which will help bring to these youth the care and protection they so urgently need", said Carl Siciliano Executive Director, Ali Forney Center.
Studies in recent years highlight the need for an office that focuses on the issues faced by young New Yorkers who identify as LGBT. According to a study by the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services released in late 2007, nearly one-third of New York City’s homeless youth identify as LGBT. And according to a study by the New York City Department of Health, the rate of HIV infection among young (ages 13 - 19) men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York City doubled from 2001 to 2006.
De Blasio's legislation would establish a division within the Department of Health that is tailored to the unique needs of LGBT youth up to age 24. This division would address the physical and mental health needs of the LGBT youth community. The division would also research and develop programs and initiatives including, but not limited to, the prevention of suicide, depression, violence, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases within the LGBT youth community of the city.