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Launch Pad: Street-free Sleep Initiative for Youth
$9,670 raised
39% of $25k goal
72 contributors
105 Weeks running
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Launch Pad is a street-free sleep initiative developed by the LGBTQ and allied community in Nashville to provide temporary sleeping shelters for youth ages 18-24 in Davidson County.

Almost a year ago, we approached the community in Middle Tennessee because of the closure of a transitional living program that was open and affirming to LGBT youth without stable housing. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, family rejection and expulsion based on a youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity is the leading cause of LGBT youth homelessness. To further complicate matters, LGBT youth frequently find many shelters unwelcoming or unsafe. As an alternative, these individuals are often sexually exploited because they cannot find safe shelter.

Government efforts to fight homelessness are focused on military veterans and the chronically homeless. Meanwhile,18-24 year-olds without stable housing are not a priority. We risk a new generation becoming homeless or dying from exposure in the winter. The scope of the homelessness problem in America requires that communities pick up the slack.

Over the past year, Launch Pad has run street-free temporary sleeping shelters with the help of two Nashville churches that opened their doors and hearts to these youth.

  • Last winter, we hosted just under 60 individuals through the cold season of December to April, many of them multiple times, some almost weekly.
  • We provided 525 beds in our first year of operations.
  • We are on track to provide another 1000 this November through March.

This winter, we’re looking to expand. Going from two nights a week to four nights a week is a big shift -- and requires more hands on deck, a great deal more supplies, and a lot more support from the community. If we can provide shelter four night a week, another organization has committed to having similar shelters the remaining three nights. That means there will be a place for people aged 18-24 EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK.

We provide a homecooked meal made by volunteers, a place to sleep indoors, fresh socks, coffee and small breakfast in the morning, and a protein snack pack and water to take with them. At some locations, we have shower facilities as well. As we prepare for winter, we have a larger need to outfit our spaces: not all of our hosts have mattresses or cots, and we must provide all bedding at three new locations. We’re also starting a little earlier this year, November 1.

Here's where your donations will go: 

  • A $15 donation covers the cost of providing space, food, and supplies for 3 guests for a night.
  • A $25 donation covers breakfast items and coffee for two mornings. 
  • A $60 donation covers pizza for a night when we don’t have a home cooked meal.
  • A $125 donation covers the cost of a mattress that we can use at a brand new site. 

We cannot do this work without your help. We have a small board of committed individuals who volunteer their time to make this happen, and we have the generous, encouraging support of our host churches. We ask for your financial support to tell our city’s youth that they matter by meeting a few of their basic needs each night of the week this winter.

Our website: http://nashvillelaunchpad.com/

Launch Pad on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaunchPadTN?fref=ts

Launch Pad in the Tennesssean: http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2014/11/22/shelters-sought-homeless-youths-nashville/19368131/

Launch Pad in Nashville Scene: http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/launch-pad-program-offers-lgbt-youth-something-desperately-needed-a-safe-place-to-sleep/Content?oid=4852277

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