The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, and the days are shortening. This means that fall has come to Oregon and winter is fast approaching. This time of year can mean a lot of different things for all of us.
This season many of us look forward to cozy nights by the fire, special times with family and friends, and getting a chance to wear our winter drag with decorative sweaters and scarves. But for many of us, this season also means struggling to balance heating bills, with grocery bills, with rent, and other costs of living. This time of year can mean awkward family dinners of explaining who your new “friend” is, or feeling the pressure to come out, once again, to your family.
Without reciting to you all the statistics, (studies show that approximately 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT and that well over half of these youth stay on the street because they feel “safer there than living in group or foster homes.”) we know that this time of year can be even more challenging for those of us without access to housing or without family to provide safety, support, or acceptance.
We hope some of the below resources can offer some help to families that are struggling this winter, but also, we hope that we can all take some time and effort this year to give a little support to our extended LGBT family.
Donating those coats you haven’t worn in years to SMRYC and Queer Zone at Outside In, offering to cook meals for a day at the HIV Day Center, adopting an LGBT family through PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, or making a donation to one of the many organizations working to support families, are just a few of the ways we can help each other this season.
Here are a few resources here in the Portland area offering assistance to families and individuals:
Red Cross Severe Weather Emergency Warming Center at Imago Dei Church
1302 Ankeny Street
Union Gospel Mission
15 NW 3rd Avenue, 503-228-0319
Multnomah and Washington County: www.rosecityresource.org
Please share these resources with others, because we may never know who will be impacted by this information.
As we continue to support the work of Basic Rights Oregon and other LGBTQ organizations across the state, we know it doesn’t stop there. We must also continue to ensure that we are building acceptance with every conversation we have with our neighbor, our co-worker, our peers, and our pastor. So that next fall, there are less families being pushed out of their home, job, or school, because of who they are, and instead being celebrated, welcomed, and accepted, because of it.