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San Diego Homeless Shelter Network Looks To Help LGBTQ Youth

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the Interfaith Shelter Network: LGBTQ Summ...

Credit: Matt Hoffman/KPBS

Above: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the Interfaith Shelter Network: LGBTQ Summit hosted by St. Paul's Cathedral near downtown, March 5, 2018.

The Interfaith Shelter Network relies on over 60 congregations in San Diego County to temporarily house people. In addition to a place to sleep, meals are provided and people work alongside case managers.

On Monday, the Interfaith Shelter Network joined San Diego Pride for a summit at St Paul's Cathedral near downtown to encourage faith organizations to open their doors to homeless people, including LGBTQ individuals.

According to the nonprofit advocacy organization True Color Fund, 40 percent of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer asked congregations to help out.

"It's not just one program, it's not just one organization, one person, it's a network," Faulconer said. "It's all about expanding opportunities and the Interfaith Shelter Network has been around and has had a lot of remarkable achievements. It's about getting more congregations to join but particularly those with a focus on LGBTQ, how we can help add those tailored services with the one goal: Get people off the street and into supportive housing."

Trish Brereton, executive director of the Interfaith Shelter Network, said many factors can push people into becoming homeless.

"A disastrous illness, a divorce, losing your job and you can't find another job," Brereton said. "Things can go down hill pretty quickly if you're living on the edge of your paycheck cause you don't make a ton of money. What we do is take them and help them save money for at least four to six to eight weeks."

Right now the network operates seasonally, but organizers are looking to expand.

"We're looking to this to hopefully gather some additional congregations so it can go longer," Brereton said. "Because homelessness does not start in October and end in May."

An earlier version of this story inadvertently omitted reference to LGBTQ homeless youth.

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