New Funding Included for Anti-Discrimination Legal Services; Family Acceptance Programs for LGBTQ+ Youth; Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Non-Binary (TGNC/NB)-led Nonprofits; and Social Services Towards LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness
Investments Developed as Result of Mayoral Roundtables Led by Transgender People of Color and LGBTQ+ Community
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the Mayor’s Office of Equity’s Unity Project, and the New York City Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) today announced an investment of nearly $6.7 million to provide new and expanded services for the LGBTQ+ community. These new services provide wide-ranging support that include first-of-its-kind funding for capacity building of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC)/non-binary (NB)-led nonprofits, legal services, and support for homeless youth.
The investments demonstrate the interagency coordination between the Office of Equity’s Unity Project, DYCD, the New York City Department of Consumer and Workforce Protection (DCWP), the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS), and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) to address gaps and expand services for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers. With these new investments, New York City honors and strengthens its legacy as the home of Stonewall and the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
“These new investments that we are unveiling today, which we’ve been working to develop for months with community stakeholders, sends a clear message to our LGBTQ+ family that New York City hears you, sees you, and embraces you,” said Mayor Adams. “As the home of Stonewall and the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, New York City has an obligation to continue to lead the way, and we are doing just that with robust community investments and new programming. Pride is more than a celebration, it is a call to action. We are proud to invest nearly $6.7 million to support our LGBTQ+ youth, to put real dollars into transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary focused nonprofits, and to take a critical step forward to creating a more equitable New York City. Thanks to everyone who participated in our LGBTQ+ and transgender people of color roundtables, helping to inform the substance of this important initiative. Led by our Office of Equity and leadership across our administration, City Hall will continue to champion and support New Yorkers of every identity.”
Pride is a time for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers to celebrate who they are, their hard-won victories, and their extraordinary resilience and brilliance. During Pride and every other month, New York City remains committed to ensuring LGBTQ+ New Yorkers are safe, healthy, and supported while fulfilling its historic legacy. The $6.7 million package announced today was developed partly after conversations between Mayor Adams and the administration-led roundtables at City Hall alongside LGBTQ+ and transgender people of color.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates how we continue to center equity across city government,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “These new and expanded programs led and supported across seven city agencies and offices will invest in organizations that understand the importance of community while supporting and empowering LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.”
“Today’s investment in expanded services for our LGBTQ+ community means creating spaces where people are more seen, understood and served,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Investments like these, permeated with equity and inclusion, mean an improved quality of life — for everyone.”
“The Office of Equity is proud to partner with our city agencies to develop and fund solutions that directly tackle disparities we know are impacting our LGBTQ+ community,” said Mayor’s Office of Equity Commissioner Sideya Sherman. “Our work doesn’t stop here. Through the NYC Unity Project, we will continue to build and strengthen our city’s work to support and serve this community and ensure we are advancing equity across city programs and policies.”
“Protecting and promoting the physical and mental health of New York City means building a healthcare system and ensuring health and social services are tailored to the needs of individuals and communities with unique needs,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “These investments will promote a system of care and supports for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers that guarantees dignity, respect, sensitivity, and high quality of care, in ways that for too long have not been protected.”
“To experience homelessness, especially as a LGBTQ+ youth, compounds numerous stressors that can be challenging to overcome,” said DCWP Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “By arming these youth with tools to improve their financial stability, they will be more empowered in all aspects of their lives and be more prepared to avoid homelessness in the future.”
“This unprecedented investment in LGBTQ+ New Yorkers is particularly impactful on the lives of youth and young adults who face a significant number of obstacles in finding employment and a safe, welcoming environment to stay,” said incoming DYCD Commissioner Keith Howard. “DYCD is proud to team up with our sister agencies and community partners to connect young people to critical support services—drop-in centers, financial literacy, and employment opportunities—and to provide capacity building support to organizations that serve the transgender, gender non-confirming, and non-binary communities.”
“This investment represents a commitment to a safer and fair city for all New Yorkers through an expansion of services for our LGBTQ+ community,” said Deanna Logan, director, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “Today’s announcement is the continued realization of Mayor Adams’ promise to support New York City’s vulnerable communities, especially those impacted by hate and discrimination.”
“It is critical that we support our homeless and most vulnerable LGBTQ+ neighbors— that’s why the Department of Social Services is proud to support Mayor Adams’ historic investment in LGBTQ+ services and supports,” said DSS Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins. “In the midst of these ongoing attacks across the country against the LGBTQ+ community, the $6.7 million investment says loudly and proudly that New York City will once again lead the nation in efforts to serve and protect LGBTQ+ individuals and that New York, the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ movement, will remain a beacon for freedom and equality.”
“New York City would not be the place it is without its vibrant, diverse LGBTQ+ community,” said Ronald Porcelli, senior policy advisor, NYC Unity Project. “As the home of Stonewall, New York City continues to lead the nation in LGBTQ+ rights and policy. These investments ensure the NYC Unity Project can expand its innovative, interagency programs to support and empower the NYC LGBTQ+ community.”
“The Peer Navigation and Financial Literacy Programs for Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) were prioritized as necessary interventions by young people through our recent Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program planning efforts,” said Cole Giannone, senior advisor for youth homelessness to Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “These new programs will both provide employment to young people who experienced homelessness help their peers navigate their experiences and provide historic infrastructure within our eight RHY drop-in centers. Investments to address youth homelessness inherently support LGBTQ+ youth given their overrepresentation in the population and we are very excited to launch these initiatives in partnership with the community.”
Funding will support:
Culturally Competent Civil-Legal Services for LGBTQ+ Community ($1 million)
- The Unity Project, in collaboration with the Office of Civil Justice at the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Office of Crime Victim Supports at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), will launch a new initiative that funds legal services for the LGBTQ+ community. New York City legal service providers will be funded to serve income-eligible LGBTQ+ New Yorkers experiencing discrimination in housing, employment, or public accommodations; landlord harassment; denial of service or government benefits.
Family Acceptance of LGBTQ+ Youth ($1.5 million)
- Family rejection is among the primary drivers of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness across the country. Locally, LGBTQ+ and non-binary youth represent roughly 50 percent of youth experiencing homelessness. This initiative will promote parental and family acceptance of LGBTQ+ youth through educational workshops, parent support groups, role model stories, and social marketing campaigns.
Peer Navigators and Financial Literacy for Runaway and Homeless Youth ($3 million)
- LGBTQ+ youth and young adults are disproportionately represented among youth experiencing homelessness. The Peer Navigator program will provide 16 young adults with lived experience of homelessness full-time work across the eight Runaway Homeless Youth (RHY) drop-in centers administered by DYCD. The Financial Literacy program is a partnership between the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP). It places a financial counselor at each of the eight RHY drop-in centers. The counselors will use a tailored financial counseling model to meet the unique needs of youth experiencing homelessness.
TGNC/NB-Led Non-Profit Capacity Building Innovation Grants ($183,500)
- The Unity Project and DYCD are starting a new initiative to support TGNC/NB-led non-profit capacity building with targeted grants. Community-based TGNC/NB-led non-profits serve as a vital lifeline to support TGNC/NB New Yorkers. This program will allow existing TGNC/NB-led non-profits to further serve their communities in the areas of health, mental health, community-building, and other vital areas of need as identified by the TGNC/NB community.
Faith-Based Healing Initiative for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers Who Have Experienced Religious Hate ($350,000)
- For too long, LGBTQ+ people have suffered religious hate and discrimination. This reality is all the more painful given that so many LGBTQ+ youth wish to celebrate their faith alongside their families and communities. The Unity Project and DOHMH will launch a new community-led, faith-based healing initiative for TGNC/NB and LGBTQ+ people who have suffered religious hate and discrimination. This high priority area, as identified at the transgender people of color roundtable at City Hall earlier this year, will work to build the capacity of providers to address clients’ past trauma and create healing, therapeutic spaces for fellowship.
HIV and Sexual Health Services and Programming ($400,000)
- Funding will be expanded for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)’s HIV and sexual health initiatives to further support the New York City Ending the HIV Epidemic Plan, the product of a nearly year-long community planning process to develop strategies and key activities for the next phase of the city’s efforts to end the epidemic. This funding will help to expand existing services, programming, and community clinics to further implement the plan’s key activities focused on people most affected by HIV.
LGBTQ+ Health Care Bill of Rights and DOHMH Transgender Health Booklets (150K)
- Funding will be allocated to evaluate the LGBTQ+ Health Care Bill of Rights, which informs New Yorkers of their legal rights in health care settings, empowering them to get the health care they deserve. Funding will also support updates to the DOHMH’s transgender health guides for transgender men and transmasculine individuals as well as transgender women and transfeminine individuals. Updates will incorporate feedback from DOHMH’s Transgender, Gender Nonconforming and Non-Binary Community Advisory Board.
“We at Destination Tomorrow are excited about the mayor’s over $6 million investment in the LGBTQ community,” said Sean Ebony Coleman, founder and executive director, Destination Tomorrow. “This commitment, which focuses on the most vulnerable, is an important first step towards equity. We are also delighted that the mayor chose our Bronx center as the location for his announcement as this highlights the fact that many LGBTQ folks live, work and thrive here in the outer boroughs, and that we are in need of support and resources too.”
“The mayor is continuing to champion the rights of LGBTQI+ in New York City and accelerating the march towards full equality,” said Rev. Dr. Vanessa M. Brown, Rivers of Living Water Ministries. “It is important that we in the faith community take seriously the healing of inherited traumas from our religious traditions and our families. We must make every effort to support our LGBTQI+ youth and families.”
“We are thrilled to see the mayor’s office make this very targeted and intentional investment in our community, said Elisa Crespo, executive director, The NEW Pride Agenda. “This is the result of advocates expressing their concerns and government hearing the calls and taking action. This new funding will support organizations who serve the LGBTQ community, particularly trans-led organizations who have bore the brunt of inequitable funding for far too long. We look forward to working together with the mayor’s team to continue advancing our communities’ priorities.”
“I’m extremely happy to see over $6 million in new funding has been allocated by Mayor Adams for programs that will benefit our LGBTQ community,” said Carmen Neely, president, Harlem SGL-LGBTQ Center. “This clearly shows the mayor has our community in his heart, that he cares and is invested in our well-being, which is right in line with his long record of helping our LGBTQ community.”
“Stonewall CDC applauds the adoption of the new budget and the mayor’s investment in our community. We look forward to working together to address the critical issues impacting New York City’s LGBTQ+ older adults,” said Sayief Leshaw, program director, Stonewall Community Development Corporation.
“Equity must be transformational and radical, it must prioritize those communities historically erased and stigmatized for it to have true impact,” said Kiara St. James, co-founder and executive director, New York Transgender Advocacy Group.
“Which is what Mayor Eric Adams culturally-competent civil-legal services is intentional in addressing through a wholistic and nuanced lens. It is a new day! A new era! In NYC!”
“Callen-Lorde is heartened to see that Mayor Adams is responding to the needs of New York City’s LGBTQ communities by committing $6 million to various legal, social service and health programs,” said Jonathan Santos-Ramos, senior director of organizational planning and sustainability, Callen-Lorde. “While there are many more needs to be met, we are especially optimistic that these investments will be focused in our BIPOC communities and will serve TGNB New Yorkers, runaway and homeless youth and others who historically have been marginalized. Callen-Lorde is a community health center, but we know that holistic health and well-being rely as much upon full access to competent and quality health care as it does on a government and society that values, supports and protects those so often underserved. We applaud the mayor for making these initial investments.”