The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted preexisting issues like health disparities and job insecurity in America, but the government’s response to the nationwide housing crisis was glaringly obvious from the very first shutdown.
While the world went into lockdown, many of the nation’s homeless had nowhere to go. Then when states rushed to reopen businesses, tents and enclosed structures were built for outdoor seating. For some, it meant that they would finally be able to resume some semblance of a normal life. For others, it only proved that makeshift shelters could be built quickly to house those who needed them.
This is the perfect time for the Liberty Mutual Foundation to announce that it gave a five-year grant to Bridge Over Troubled Waters for $2.5 million. According to the Associated Press, the Boston nonprofit provides housing and services for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth. The grant will go toward addressing preexisting infrastructure needs, expanding housing and boosting its outreach programs.
In a news release last Tuesday, the nonprofit highlights that the number of homeless Black and LGBTQ people between the ages of 14 and 24 has been on the rise.
“We are so grateful to Liberty Mutual for its investment in our comprehensive approach to helping vulnerable young people experiencing homelessness,” Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ CEO Elisabeth Jackson said in a statement, according to AP.
Here’s more from the release:
Research shows that Black and African American youth have an 83 percent higher risk of becoming homeless while LGBTQ+ youth are 120 percent more likely to experience homelessness. Even more concerning, 50 percent of youth who are homeless are unsheltered. The prevalence of homelessness among people between the ages of 14 and 24 is growing, and many of the young people who become homeless are being both physically and sexually abused or exploited. Between 70 and 80 percent of the youth that Bridge works with have experienced trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
AP reports that the grant is the largest the organization has received since it was founded in 1970. It currently serves more than 2,000 young people per year.