homeless youth

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

It's been almost a year since Cincinnati was chosen as one of just two cities to pilot a federal LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative.

During a site visit Wednesday, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Senior Advisor Jennifer Ho said Cincinnati is doing well and ready to move from planning to doing.

Panhandlers are an all-too-common sight in most large cities, including Cincinnati, and even though non-aggressive panhandling is legal here, it can be bothersome to visitors, residents and workers. And giving a panhandler money is not the best way to truly help the suffering. Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated recently launched a program to make people more aware of local agencies and services, such as the Winter Shelter, and how they better serve those in need. Joining us to talk about the Panhandling Education Program and helping the homeless in Cincinnati are Cincinnati Police Captain Mike Neville, David Ginsburg, president and CEO of Downtown Cincinnati Inc., and Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.

  LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) youth are dramatically over-represented in the homeless youth population. Across the country, from 25 to 40% of homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. A program designed to educate the public, reduce the problem and help these severely at-risk kids stay off the streets was recently introduced in Cincinnati. The National LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative, led by the U.S.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati-area groups are working together to test a federal pilot program aimed at reducing the number of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Meredith Hicks with Lighthouse Youth Services explains why the region is one of just two in the country chosen to try out new strategies targeting this vulnerable population.

Homeless children, teens and young adults are a rising concern for police and social workers in Hamilton County.

Lighthouse Youth Services CEO Bob Mecum says homeless kids used to mainly be unhappy runaways.

"Today we're seeing kids who are, for the most part, long-term victims of poverty, long-term victims of neglect, and physical and sexual abuse," says Mecum.

Addiction is another major problem. Mecum says heroin use today is unprecedented and often passed down to children by their parents.