Visitors toured the facility, which has been cleaned out and will be ready to have electrical, HVAC and plumbing work done once permits are approved by the city. The new space will hold three times as many beds for the youth to use for shelter, going from six to eighteen. Lost-N-Found leaders also touted the home’s location at Juniper and Fifth Street.
“This will become the premier youth shelter in Midtown/Downtown Atlanta,” said outreach director Art Izzard. “There is no other youth shelter within walking distance of where the majority of these youth are at on the streets.”
Executive director Rick Westbrook told the crowd that six LGBT youths across the country die on the streets every day.
“We can’t have that. That’s just not the way I was raised,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re from the north or the south or another country. When you’re in Atlanta, we take care of our kids. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
And it was one of those LGBT youths the organization is helping that drew the most interest at the event. Daniel Pierce, the 19-year-old gay Georgia man whose video of his family assaulting him after coming out went viral, was in attendance. Pierce spoke briefly and thanked people for coming out, and Lost-N-Found Youth did not make him available for interviews.
“Start this conversation with your biological families. Start this conversation with your extended families,” Westbrook said. “And let’s get this house built and off the ground so we can better serve our youth.”