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Shelter for LGBT youth opens in Brussels
A halfway house has opened in Brussels for youth who have trouble at home or have been kicked out because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual. It is the first such shelter to open in Belgium.
Many young LGBTs who come out to their parents are threatened or harassed, while some are told to leave the home altogether. It is estimated that up to half of the world’s homeless youth are LGBT. According to Brussels’ Rainbow House community centre, young people show up there every week looking for a place to sleep.
The new shelter has space for four but hopes to expand that to 10 by the end of the year. It offers the youth a place to stay as well as psychological and legal assistance.
The house is an initiative of the human rights non-profit Midnimo, which is getting financial support from Brussels-City and several welfare agencies. “It is targeted at people aged 18 to 25 because they are the most fragile when it comes to a confrontation with their families,” said Christophe Degraeuwe, co-found of the new shelter. “These people really need a little bit of support to find their way.”
The first residents are in the house now; the location is not being revealed to ensure the safety of the residents.
Photo: Getty Images