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LETTER: Homeless 2SLGBTQIA+ community needs support

'Partners such as the Gilbert Centre and the Triangle Program at the Metropolitan Community Church offer life-saving support,' says letter writer
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OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a column from The Lighthouse, published May 20.

The Lighthouse shelter provides much-needed support for those in our community who are unhoused, and we appreciate all that you do for our community. However, I was deeply disappointed to see that in their list of community partners, a key essential partner in the Gilbert Centre was not included.

Non-inclusiveness of homelessness organizations is extremely problematic and unsafe, especially considering the over-representation of 2SLGBTQIA+ people who are unhoused, locally and otherwise.

From the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website: “Many members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community continue to face discrimination, especially when accessing a safe, suitable and affordable place to call home.

“2SLGBTQIA+ youth may be the most vulnerable members of the community. As a result, their housing challenges are often the greatest. According to the most recent research, approximately 10 per cent of the Canadian population identifies as 2SLGBTQIA+. By some estimates, 2SLGBTQIA+ youth make up between 25 and 40 per cent of homeless youth in Canada. (

As the mother of a gay son who struggled with homelessness, mental illness, and substance misuse, I know first-hand the bullying he experienced by the homeless community in our area and the discrimination he faced in accessing addiction services. In fact, one went so far to tell him he has to stop being gay and his problems would solve themselves.

When my son came out as a gay youth, our home was a safe haven for his friends in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to hang out and, at times, stay until they could find safe housing after their families disowned them.

Partners such as the Gilbert Centre and the Triangle Program at the Metropolitan Community Church offer life-saving support for young people in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

My son did not make it, and died last year.

I urge The Lighthouse shelter to seek out partnerships with these 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations and others, to support the most vulnerable youth in our community. From personal experience, it really is a matter of life or death.

Linda Reid