Coronavirus pandemic a perfect storm for LGBTQ homeless youth

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04/05/2020

Finding a secure place to live has not been easy for Nez Marquez, 23, who has experienced homelessness for the past five years. Born in Mexico and raised in New York, he left home at 18 because his family did not accept his gender identity and sexual orientation, he said. Marquez is staying at Sylvia’s Place, an emergency shelter for LGBTQ young adults on the bottom floor of a Manhattan church. He said shelters that specifically cater to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are safer for him because he has been subjected to homophobic attacks at general-population shelters. But now, in addition to anti-gay violence and the inherent dangers of life on the streets, Marquez has another fear: the coronavirus and its ripple effects. “I’ve been worried about not having housing,” Marquez said in an interview. “If where I’m staying shuts down, I’ll be out of options.”

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