Atlanta’s homeless ranks will increase by one this weekend as Rick Westbrook, executive director of homeless LGBT youth organization Lost-N-Found Youth, takes part in the group’s 48 Hours of Homelessness vigil. But why 48 hours?
“Statistically, we have 48 hours to reach a homeless youth before they must engage in high-risk and/or criminal behavior in order to survive on the street,” Westbrook tells Georgia Voice. “Over one-third of homeless youth report exchanging sex for food, shelter, or drugs. Of the youth who engage in prostitution/survival sex, the overwhelming majority trade sex for money. Approximately half also trade sex for temporary shelter, and one-fifth trade sex for drugs.”
This year’s event will be preceded by an open tour of the group’s future home at 768 Juniper Street on Friday evening, followed by an update on what they’ve done over the past year to solve the issue of LGBT youth homelessness in Atlanta.
Then at 7 p.m. the clock starts on Westbrook’s 48-hour homeless weekend, marked by a community candlelight vigil walk from the group’s future home to Brushstrokes at Ansley Mall, where he will remain with only his clothes and a cell phone, relying on passers-by for food.
LNFY staff will be on hand throughout the weekend providing presentations on the group’s services and how to get involved, plus taking donations for the group’s youth and thrift store. They’re encouraging donations of gently used clothing, housewares, blankets, new undergarments and socks, and personal care items. Gift cards to Kroger, Target, and chain restaurants are also requested in order to help feed and provide assistance for the youth.
The 48-hour countdown will end on Sunday at 7 p.m., when LNFY will commemorate the past year’s work and celebrate with the community by taking in The Armorettes’ weekly 8 p.m. show at The Hideaway.
Lost-N-Found Youth Tour & Community Update Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 at 5 p.m. 768 Juniper St.
Lost-N-Found Youth Community Candlelight Vigil Walk Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 at 7 p.m. From 768 Juniper Street to Brushstrokes at Ansley Mall
Lost-N-Found Youth 48 Hours of Homelessness Vigil Friday, Nov. 6 – Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 Brushstrokes at Ansley Mall
Lost-N-Found Youth End-of-Vigil Celebration with The Armorettes Sunday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. The Hideaway