Forty-percent of San Diego's homeless youth identify as LGBT.
The newly appointed executive director of San Diego Pride, Fernando Lopez, is passionate about offering shelter to the many LGBT youths who are currently experiencing homelessness in America's Finest City.
This is a cause close to Fernando's heart. He at one point was homeless as well but he says thanks to those who took the time to care, he is in a much better place and would like to give others the chance to grow as well.
In a press release, he says Pride is working with the mayor's office and the Interfaith Shelter Network to assist in providing help to those in need.
His wish is that the community will help in this latest endeavor as much as they did in his time of hopelessness.
Forty percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Most cite familial rejection as the reason for their homelessness. Once upon a time, I did too. While great progress has been made in California and in San Diego, we know that far too many LGBTQ young people are born into situations where they lack support from friends, family, faculty, and / or faith.
Faith has all too often been used as a weapon against our community, but so too has it been used as a shield and shelter for us. In San Diego, there are over 90 open and affirming congregations (and their numbers are growing) that have stood at the front lines of the LGBTQ fight for justice. These LGBTQ-affirming institutions and leaders of faith have helped us to get married, to lead our marches, and to build bridges of compassionate understanding in even the darkest of situations.
Now a new opportunity has arisen for these places of worship to become shelters for some of our most vulnerable.
With the goal of providing stability and safety for members of our community who are experiencing homelessness, Pride is proud to partner with Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office and with the Interfaith Shelter Network to create new LGBTQ-affirming spaces.
If it weren’t for the kindness of a stranger having given me shelter 18 years ago, I wouldn’t be alive today. I hope that you will harness the power of your personal connections and your connections with nonprofits and with personal places of worship to answer this call that with love and faith we may extend hope to those in need.
Persist with Pride,
Fernando Z. LópezExecutive DirectorSan Diego Pride
To learn more about how you can help visit the Interfaith Shelter Network HERE.
You can also visit San Diego Pride by clicking HERE.