Write here…The Mayor and City Council passed a City budget last week that shows progress overall for the LGBTQ Community. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Chair Danny Dromm and full City Council hammered out a budget of which LGBTQ New Yorkers can be proud.
Here are some of the highlights of line items:
Initiatives from the Office of the Mayor & City Agencies (over $9,500,000 total allocation:
- Youth Shelter for Youth Up to Age 24: This funding is for the city’s first ever youth shelter for young people up to age 24, a population disproportionately high in LGBTQ individuals.
- Youth Drop-In Hours: This expands the operation of three youth drop-in center hours to 24/7 service which will serve an additional 400 young people annually at each center and ensures 24 hour service in all five boroughs.
- Peer-to-Peer Advocate Training: Training for parents and caregivers to become peer-to-peer advocates on the importance of family acceptance with other families of LGBTQ youth is greatly expanded.
- ProjectLIFT: This clinical training program, Project LIFT, which provides training to clinicians working with ACS-involved families to support them in supporting their LGBTQ family members, to serve 600 families annually in partnership with the LGBT Community Center of New York will grow under the next budget.
- NEW: Bilingual Spanish-speaking support services for LGBTQ Latinix youth: Bilingual, Spanish-speaking family support services for families of LGBTQ Latinx youth, will be offered in partnership with CAMBA Project Accept LGBTQ Youth (ALY).
- NEW: LGBTQ Youth Led Research Project: A youth-led participatory action research project will seek to identify youth-driven goals and priorities for LGBTQ family acceptance work.
- PrEP Site: Two new PrEP for Adolescents clinical sites in Harlem and Central Brooklyn, where LGBTQ young people are more likely to seek services and HIV transmission rates are high, will be added.
Initiatives from City Council:
- NEW: LGBT Community Centers Initiative: $2,000,000 This funding supports the Outer Borough LGBT Services Consortium, which works to increase coordinated delivery of health and human services for LGBT people and families in the outer boroughs of NYC.
- NEW: Trans Equity Programs Initiative: $1,775,000 This funding supports a range of services to help empower the transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) community. Funding may support education programs, employment services, workforce development, healthcare navigation, legal guidance, community workshops, or academic research, among others.
- LGBT Senior Services in Every Borough: $1,500,000 This allocation provides LBGT culturally competent services for seniors through Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) sites located across the City.
- LGBTQ Youth All-Borough Mental Health: $1,200,000 This allocation supports comprehensive mental health services for vulnerable LGBTQ youth, focusing particularly on youth of color, youth in immigrant families, homeless youth, and youth who are court-involved.
- LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum: $660,000 This allocation will fund the DOE’s effort to support the needs of LGBTQ youth and address the intersectionality of race, sexual orientation and gender identity through DOE’s general curriculum, support professional development for public school teachers, and integrate LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum into literacy and history classes.
All for the above new and expanded initiatives, in combination with increased discretionary funding for LGBTQ initiatives by individual Councilmembers underline support for our community and highlight the amazing work by advocates in these arenas. While there will always be more needs for the future, let's be proud of the progress and promise this budget represents today.