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White House LGBT housing conference

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Demetris Smith says he's inspired by the White House LGBT conference

The White House hosted the LGBT Conference on Housing and Homelessness today in Detroit. It explored various issues lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face when it comes to finding housing or dealing with homelessness. This was one of four such conferences the White House is hosting around the country.

One area of focus was how to help homeless LGBT kids.  Laura Hughes is the executive director of the Ruth Ellis Center. It’s a social service agency that helps LGBT homeless kids and it’s one of only a handful of its kind in the country.

Hughes called today’s conference monumental and historic. “This matters because 40% of the 1.7 million youth each year who experience a night of homelessness identify as LGBT. We are talking about young people who are at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and poverty.”

When LGBT homeless teens seek services at traditional agencies they can face discrimination, violence, and even physical assault. Part of the conference looked at ways to help young people who are homeless. Other workshops dealt with fair housing practices and housing issues for LGBT seniors.

Kyle Norris is from Michigan and spent ten years as a host and reporter with Michigan Radio, the state’s largest NPR-affiliate. He lives in Seattle and works as a substitute host and producer at KNKX.
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