Pink Triangle Services competes for LGBTQ homeless youth funding

Pink Triangle Services, a queer community centre located in the heart of Centretown, is working towards improving conditions for LGBTQ homeless youth.

“Due to homophobia from family, friends or other support systems, youth who identify as LGBTQ are over represented in the homeless population by 25 to 40 per cent as compared to five to 10 per cent in the general population,” says Jacinthe Leblanc, assistant director of Community Services at the Youth Services Bureau.

“Regardless of sexual or gender identity, family conflict is the number one cause for all youth homelessness,” adds Alex Abramovich, a Toronto-based researcher leading a study on LGBTQ youth homelessness at the city’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

PTS acknowledges these challenges and is participating in the Aviva Community Fund competition in hopes of creating a social initiative that employs Ottawa’s at-risk and homeless LGBTQ youth for 12 to 24 month periods. 

Kayla Miller, PTS volunteer and programs co-ordinator says the plan, if selected, is to hire youth to prepare and deliver meals to low-income LGBTQ community members, including seniors.

According to the PTS community fund page, the initiative will assist LGBTQ youth in attaining transferable work skills, “as well as develop personal qualities such as self-esteem, resilience, leadership, communication and teamwork, all while contributing to their communities.”

Finalists in the competition can receive a grant anywhere between $5,000 and $100,000. PTS is not the only Centretown initiative that is entered in the Aviva competition. St. Anthony School is also seeking funding through Aviva to help improve the community.  

As PTS states on its community fund page, by introducing a food security and catering program it would increase youths’ access to a form of meaningful employment. 

Miller explains that earning a living wage would help alleviate some other social problem that youth may be facing. 

“We want to help people gain autonomy and independence and be able to attain some of their basic needs, while still supporting them in other areas,” she says.
Organizations participating in the competition will go through three rounds of online voting before semi-finals in December.