Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Lockers key to survival for youth experiencing homelessness
by Tony Peregrin

This article shared 4855 times since Tue Dec 1, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Lockers large enough to fit three carry-on suitcases could make all the difference to Chicago's youth who are homeless.

A new citywide safe storage program—the first of its kind in the U.S., according to Lara Brooks, director of the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative—will be placing its first lockers in shelters this month in Chicago.

"For young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability, access to safe and secure storage options for personal belongings—such as clothing, school books, keepsakes, and legal documents—is a daily, often hourly, stressor," explained Brooks. "Left with unreliable or infrequent storage options, young people hide their personal belongings in alleys, dumpsters, yards, under porches, in abandoned buildings, and bushes. These possessions—including those necessary for housing, employment, and educational opportunities—are in constant danger of being lost, stolen, discarded, or damaged."

A total of 250 lockers or storage units will be placed in an estimated 10 locations around Chicago by the end of 2017, with the first set ( 67 lockers ) installed at Ujima Village—an overnight shelter for youth ages 18-24 on the south side—this month. "The hope is that the program becomes a model for other cities," said Brooks, who has been working in Chicago with LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness since 2004.

According to a report issued by the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative, there are no models of community-coordinated or citywide efforts in the U.S. that specifically support the homeless youth population's need for safe storage. The report, co-authored by Brooks, notes that adult storage models in Vancouver, San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, Salt Lake City and New York were examined while developing Chicago's Youth Storage Initiative.

The idea for a youth storage plan first emerged as a result of the Windy City Times' Chicago Summit on LGBT Homelessness in May 2014. That same year, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimated 12,186 youth, ages 14 to 21, were homeless and living without the support of a family member or guardian.

"Access to safe and secure storage has both short- and long-term impacts," said Brooks. "For some youth, it means that they are more likely to attend job interviews and enroll in school. In our focus groups, young people described the harms and targeting they experienced moving through neighborhoods or on public transportation with suitcases and bags. Safe storage promotes mobility, such as the ability to attend meetings and appointments, and may reduce violence and other safety threats."

According to Brooks, Ujima was selected as the location to roll out the program because the facility has more physical space than all of the other overnight shelters in the city, and because the center also has bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. Program participants are permitted to store items such as clothing, toiletries, backpacks, documents, art work, photos, journals, baby items, and non-perishable food items.

"We hope to learn how to most effectively measure the positive impact of storage on the lives of young people," said Brooks, when asked what program organizers seek to discover from the pilot program at Ujima. "What does the flow look like—how often do young people want to access their lockers in a given week? How long will young people typically use the program? And how many young people will access storage as an "entry point" and feel more comfortable accessing overnight shelter services or case management?"

In some locations, physical lockers may vary in size, depending on the need and space available at each location.

Another form of storage—a secure cloud-based "locker" program—is also in development, which would allow young people a safe space to store and access birth certificates, resumes, and other documents. Brooks is hoping to pilot this initiative in libraries and youth drop-in centers during the program's first year.

"We've heard from young people that it was simply too hard to be emotionally present when preoccupied with protecting personal belongings," said Brooks, who was quick to point out that a locker is so much more than a place to hang your hat. "They've told us that it was difficult to participate in youth center activities, talk to counselors, or access healthcare due to the chronic stress and hyper-vigilance associated with protecting one's belongings. I believe the Chicago Youth Storage Initiative sends a strong and powerful message to young people: You are not disposable. Your belongings are not disposable. And access to a safe and secure place that is just yours is a basic human right."

Founded by the Pierce Family Foundation, Knight Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation and Windy City Times, the newly launched Chicago Youth Storage Initiative will include lockers installed in Washington Park, Englewood, Humboldt Park and the West Loop this winter. The initiative is being housed at the Crossroads Fund, which is serving as the fiscal manager and providing other support.

CYSI Report:

Also see: .

This article shared 4855 times since Tue Dec 1, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoes some LGBTQ+ measures and approves others
For California's LGBTQ+ community, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has made things interesting over the last few days. Late last week, Newsom vetoed three progressive measures—including an unexpected rejection of a ...

Gay News

OPINION Social media use, mental health literacy and related problems among LGBTQ+ youth
Special to Windy City Times Depression levels in the United States have risen steadily over the past five decades, and steep increases have been observed in recent years among children, adolescents, and adults under 25 years ...

Gay News

Arrests, fights punctuate battles across Canada over gender diversity in schools
Arrests were reported in the Canadian cities of Ottawa, Halifax, Vancouver and Victoria, among others, on Sept. 20 as opposing groups clashed on how schools address issues of gender identity and how teachers refer to transgender ...

Gay News

WORLD Quebec lesbians, violence study, Rugby World Cup, Ugandan bill
The hidden history of Quebec lesbians is being explored, the CBC reported. Between 1985 and 1996, a group of lesbians leased the Plateau-Mont-Royal school and ran it as a community center. The school was also home ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Historic political win, Columbus situation, trans coach, Gold + Williams
Fabian Nelson won a Democratic primary runoff in Mississippi's 66th state House district—and he's now the state's first openly gay legislator, The Guardian noted. (Republicans are not running a candidate for the general election sched ...

Gay News

NATIONAL James Baldwin Awards, archdioceses, school items, 'RuPublicans'
On Aug. 21, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) hosted the 3rd Annual James Baldwin Legacy Awards to honor the contributions of Black men and masculine elders within the Black LGBTQ+/same gender loving (SGL) movement and ...

Gay News

Court allows anti-trans youth healthcare ban in Alabama
On Aug. 21, a three-judge panel on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a district court judge's temporary injunction against Alabama's law banning gender-affirming care for people under 19, The Hill reported. The development ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood of Illinois receives $525K grant for youth STI pilot program
—From a press release. CHICAGO - Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) received a $525,000 grant to pilot a new Chicago Healthy Adolescents & Teens (CHAT) STI testing initiative for adolescents 13 to 24-years-old in Chicago. The ...

Gay News

N.C. legislators override governor's veto of three anti-trans youth bills
On the evening of Aug. 16, the North Carolina legislature's Republican supermajority overrode vetoes from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper regarding several bills—including three that target transgender youth, CNN reported. The ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted leaders discuss transition and organization's future
In March—after a 15-year tenure that was productive but also controversial in spots—Modesto Tico Valle officially stepped down from his position as CEO of Center on Halsted, the largest LGBTQ+ ...

Gay News

Illinois attorney general joins push against anti-trans laws
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has joined a multistate coalition of 20 attorneys general opposing laws in Kentucky and Tennessee that severely limit transgender youths' access to critical healthcare, per a press release. The amicus brief ...

Gay News

New HRC data: LGBTQ+ youth still lack critical support and acceptance
From a press release: WASHINGTON—The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a report in partnership with the ...

Gay News

40% of Florida parents surveyed want to leave the state because of the Don't Say Gay law
--From a press release - New research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and Clark University finds 40% of Florida parents surveyed said they would like to move out of Florida—20% very much so and 19% somewhat—because of ...

Gay News

Florida to now allow AP psychology to be taught after anti-LGBTQ+ flap
UPDATE: The Florida Department of Education said over the weekend of Aug. 5 that it will now allow the full curriculum for an advanced placement (AP) psychology class to be taught to high school students, The Advocate reported. ...

Gay News

EXCLUSIVE Legendary coach Dorothy Gaters on her career, being part of the LGBTQ+ community
One thing became apparent during a recent talk with iconic John Marshall Metropolitan High School girls' basketball coach Dorothy Gaters. She IS Marshall High School. Even though the talk took place in an office (alongside her ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.