Whether you’re one of the thousands of LGBTQ+ young people experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon, you’re looking for an adult mentor, you’re not feeling safe at school, or you just want a hot meal and a welcoming space to connect with others your age, we can help.
We are a community-based organization focused on making our part of the world a better place for homeless LGBTQ+ kids.
Homelessness is a rapidly growing issue in our country, affecting even the smallest of communities. But did you know:
Studies completed in 2017 found that LGBTQ young adults had a 120 percent higher risk of reporting homelessness compared to youth who identified as heterosexual and cisgender. They also found that one in 30 youth ages 13-17 experienced a form of homelessness over a 12-month period and one in 10 young adults ages 18-25 experienced a form of homelessness over a 12-month period. Sadly, these numbers are substantially higher in rural areas with causes ranging from parental bullying, school bullying, strong community and religious push-back and lack of community outreach.
The consequences of homelessness, particularly for LGBTQ+ youth, are far reaching and can last a lifetime. Homelessness is harmful to mental and physical health, and youth who are homeless are at an increased risk for sexual abuse and exploitation, chemical and alcohol dependency, social stigma and discrimination. These youth also experience lower levels of long-term educational attainment—placing them at an even greater disadvantage when they enter the job market. Growing up without the critical family and social safety nets so many young people rely on results in catastrophic consequences for economic stability, educational attainment and life expectancy.
Little support exists at the federal level to provide funding for programs that improve family relationships and reduce homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth. As a result, homeless youth, particularly LGBTQ+ youth, continue to face severe obstacles in their emotional and professional development.
Shelter4Youth endeavors to provide a safe space for at-risk LGBTQ+ youth. Existing shelters in Central Oregon will not accept unaccompanied minors, hospital services are unavailable and schools are ill-equipped to help. By providing a safe and protective shelter, a hot meal and a better look at what the future could be Shelter4Youth believes that we can save children that have been tossed aside by society and family. Our timeline is simple: by Fall 2019, no child will be abandoned to the streets.
Are you passionate about what we're doing? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our vision a reality. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you. We're excited to have you join the team!
Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you.
CAIT BOYCE moved from San Francisco to Central Oregon in 2004. She served as the President of PFLAG Central Oregon for 3 years and is the Treasurer for OUT Central Oregon. Since 1971, she has been involved with LGBTQ organizations including ACT UP!, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex Law Association (ILGLaw), Matthew Shepard Foundation, and the National LGBTQ Task Force. Cait was the founder and CEO of The Center For Restorative Justice, a pathway to peace for communities and the incarcerated.
KAREN RIPPBERGER is a fierce proponent for those being dismissed by the system, As a former teacher, Karen has been advocating for the rights and fair treatment of students and the disabled for over 40 years. Karen is unafraid to speak truth to power or go toe-to-toe to advocate for the freedom to be who you are. She also knows how to compromise—how to work with others to get the best deal possible. Progress sometimes comes in great leaps forward and other times in baby steps. Karen's values come down to this:
JAMES COOK is a web designer, illustrator and grandpa. He became active in local government after moving to Central Oregon in 2010 and has served in a variety of positions in Redmond ranging from the Parks Committee to Chair of the Planning Commission. In 2018, he ran unsuccessfully for the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners and, as a result of the campaign, became involved in the issues of housing and homelessness in our region. He is currently co-chair of the Homeless Leadership Coalition.
THOMAS WRISLEY a Central Oregon native, graduated from La Pine High School in 2016. Since then, he’s served on various campaigns and organizations in order to advocate for his beliefs of compassion and thoughtfulness. A gifted communicator, but an even better listener, Thomas believes in open-mindedness and the value of negotiating in good faith. His strong sense of duty to his community drives him to advocate on behalf of the underprivileged, which is a mantle that he is honored to carry.
MEGAN STACKHOUSE a Central Oregon native, has been a long time advocate and activist for human rights. She graduated from Bend Senior High and earned her bachelors in Sociology at the University of Oregon despite experiencing homelessness in her late teens and early 20s. She loves camping, dancing, swimming, art and spending time with her cats. As a queer woman she has been a volunteered for local LGBTQ organizations and served as Pride Director in 2016 and 2017. She not only brings experience, but passion to the position of Treasurer for Shelter4Youth.
For 20 years, Christopher Beck served as a U.S. Navy SEAL in some of the most dangerous battlegrounds in the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan and earned medals and commendations including the Bronze Star for bravery and a Purple Heart.
But for those 20 years while Beck was fighting for his country, he was also fighting an inner battle over his identity. He wanted to live his life as a woman.
After retiring in 2011, Beck did just that. Kristin Beck never does anything in a small way. She chose to come out and share her story as a transgender woman on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" show before an audience of millions. Kristin is a social justice warrior and an eloquent speaker, telling her story across the United States. Check out the Kristin Beck story "Lady Valor", a CNN Film. Kristin is the President of Mindful Valor Foundation, a non-profit serving victims of trauma.
Shelter4Youth is dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ homeless youth in our community.
Your contribution today helps us make a difference for a better tomorrow.
Shelter4Youth is a recognized tax deductible organization under IRC Section 501(c)(3)