Program aims to help LGBTQ youth

Updated: Aug. 19, 2017 at 8:28 AM EDT
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NORTH COLLEGE HILL, OH (FOX19) - Tri-State residents are opening their doors to help strangers.

Lighthouse Youth and Family Services launched the Host Home Program to find homeless LGBTQ youths a way back on their feet.

It's a program that depends greatly on the kindness of strangers.

One North College Hill couple stepped up to do it for almost an entire year.

"That might be inconvenient if something bad happens to us or if there is some minor inconvenience that goes on in our house, but what is that compared to being homeless," said volunteer Kalyn Klontz.

That's why Kalyn and her fiance Aubrey opened their house to the Host Home Program and helped take a Homeless LGBTQ Youth off the streets.

"About 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ and if you compare that to just the general population, about 7% of youth identify as LGBTQ," said Outreach Manager Dan Stultz.

"Sometimes it's not even being kicked out of the home but just when the parents have a negative reaction, it makes the living situation stressful for them," said volunteer Aubrey Sarna.

The thought of a stranger moving in may make some uncomfortable, but both hosts and client are heavily vetted before making a placement.

"We're really working on our end to make sure that not only the clients are feeling safe but also the host and everyone is feeling supported at the end of the day," said Stultz.

This week, the program had their first graduate of sorts when the person living with Kalyn and Aubrey moved out to their own apartment, having held a full-time job during their stay, paying off their debts and enrolling back into school.

"I'm excited for what our youth might do," said Klontz. "I hope that they get to accomplish all that they've set out to do."

The host home program is having an open house on September 6th.

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