Highland Park, MI - February 21, 2012 — The Ruth Ellis Center — the Midwest's only organization, and one of four in the nation, solely dedicated to serving runaway, homeless and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth - will partner with the White House and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to hold an LGBT Conference on Housing & Homelessness in Detroit on March 9.
The conference, to be held at Wayne State University from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will feature remarks by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Additional presenters include HUD Assistant Secretaries John Trasviña, Raphael Bostic, and Mercedes Marquez, as well as Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, & Families at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
The March 9 conference will provide advocates, community leaders, and members of the public an opportunity to engage with the Obama Administration on housing and homelessness issues that impact LGBT Americans, including the youth served by the Ruth Ellis Center. Participants will receive updates from Obama Administration officials, connect with federal government resources and opportunities through workshop sessions, and provide valuable feedback through the "Open Space" process.
"We are honored to join with the White House for this historic conference, taking place in one of the cities most impacted by LGBTQ homelessness," said Laura Hughes, Executive Director of the Ruth Ellis Center. "Nationally, about 40 percent of the 1.7 million runaway and homeless youth self-identify as LGBTQ. In Detroit alone, up to an estimated 800 homeless LGBT youth are on the streets every day. The Ruth Ellis Center works daily with our city's and state's leadership to help improve outcomes for the homeless LGBTQ youth we serve. It sends a powerful message to now have the commitment from the Federal government to discuss these issues."
About the Ruth Ellis Center
The Ruth Ellis Center is the Midwest's only agency and one of four in the nation dedicated to serving homeless, runaway and at-risk youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender, or questioning. Honoring the legacy of Ruth Ellis, an African-American lesbian activist who opened her home to Detroit's LGBTQ community, the Center provides short-term and long-term residential safe-space and support services for LGBT youth in the Detroit area, helping them overcome backgrounds of abuse and neglect and to accomplish occupational and educational goals. The Center operates both a Drop-In Center and residential housing, Ruth's House, for youth ages 13 to 21. In 2011 alone, the Drop-In Center served 4,309 youth. For more information, go to www.ruthelliscenter.org .