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Land Warns of Fiscal Cliff Consequences for LGBT Youth

Weho's mayor pro tempore writes a Huffington Post article on the implications of budget sequestration.

West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land wrote an opinion piece that appeared this week in The Huffington Post on the negative affects that looming federal budget cuts could have on LGBT youth and other vulnerable segments of American society.

Funding for mental health services, schools and homeless shelters is in jeopardy as Congress debates what to do about the government's financial shortfall.

Land wrote:

Should Congress fail to reach a budget agreement and take action before New Year's Day, $54.7 billion in federal spending will be cut immediately. These arbitrary cuts to vital services will mean that millions of Americans start the New Year with less. Importantly, it would mean decreased access to mental health care for LGBTQ youth and other populations at risk for suicide. Endangering some of our nation's most vulnerable groups is an irresponsible way to fix our nation's budget deficit, and Congress needs to find a stronger and more sustainable solution, now. ...

The process of sequestration (taking assets like federal programs away by force because of a debt) could reduce or eliminate the vital services upon which at-risk Americans, including many LGBTQ youth, depend. Mental Health America estimates that budget cuts to lifesaving health programs would reduce the ability of the federally funded suicide prevention lifelines to respond to suicide-related calls, negatively affecting upwards of 350,000 callers in crisis. Additionally, screenings for at-risk youth and suicide prevention trainings will be cut due to lack of funds, eliminating trainings for thousands of professionals and lowering the chance that children will be screened for mental health conditions and suicide-related behaviors.

Less immediate but still very important would be the impact felt by schools, especially regarding programs that protect students from bullying and harassment. ... Drastic cuts to these important programs would reduce the resources available for prevention, enforcement and training related to bullying and harassment, essentially rolling back the clock on the progress we have made to improve school safety for LGBTQ youth.

Inaction in Congress could also affect homelessness rates, namely by endangering grants that keep shelters open, safe and operational. Up to 40 percent of all homeless youth in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ, even though LGBTQ people make up only 5 to 7 percent of the general population. Unfortunately, the holidays often see rates of homelessness increase among these youth.

Land is executive director and CEO of The Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth.

Click here to read Land's entire article.

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A different Paul December 13, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Thanks Ms Land for speaking up and for all the good work you do. The Trevor Project makes a difference in a lot of kids' lives.
Chloe Ross December 13, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Ms. Land's concern is admirable. While the City of West Hollywood continues on its building spree of steel canyons and its rivers of revenue streams - perhaps the Weho itself - could allocate funds for building a serious place for LGBT youth who seek our kinder city for refuge and help during a critical time in their young lives. Help and refuge that does not include street corners, predators, rainbow crosswalks or parking structures. West Hollywood, acknowledging itself to be a welcoming and gay friendly city, should also acknowledge the responsibilities this creates to the very people who need our guidance and care the most. LGBT youth face a cliff every day of their young lives. We should provide a safety net and not just talk.
George December 13, 2012 at 08:10 PM
I REALLY like her! She seems to care.
Profes Shivers December 13, 2012 at 09:14 PM
The money she and her ilk on the council collects from developers--for a job that winds up reducing the quality of life for us residents who have to put up with the larger structures and the concomitant increased traffic and reduced parking and more dangerous streets--could easily go toward the services these youth need here in our city. I haven't donated to Trevor since they chose her too lead them.
Profes Shivers December 13, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Seeming and caring are two different things.
George December 13, 2012 at 09:17 PM
She has a kind heart and is very down to earth.
Ali December 14, 2012 at 12:42 AM
She is a politician. She associates herself with things that she thinks will get her votes. I no longer believe a thing she says. She says she wants to protect and save the housing stock on the east side, yet more and more older buildings are being torn down for condos. I agree with Chloe, why doesn't the City itself build a place for LGBT youth and offer counseling and social services. They keep saying they have plenty of money. The City already seems to focus of LGBT issues more than anything else, so this fits right in. You would think that only LGBT people live in WeHo instead of being 40% of the population.
Profes Shivers December 18, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I definitely want my money going to LGBTQ youth instead of to that idiotic and expensive robogarage.

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