These 4 Communities Are Taking the True Colors Pride Challenge to Build LGBTQ Inclusion

Jun 2018


The True Colors Pride Challenge builds LGBTQ cultural inclusion in over 160 homelessness service providers nationally.

This Pride month, we’re facilitating the True Colors Pride Challenge in four communities across the country, including:

  • Brooklyn Public Library
    • ~60 branches
    • Goal: 1,200 library staff trained
  • Covenant House International
    • 5 sites
    • Goal: 438 providers trained.
  • Chicago, IL – All Chicago
    • 49 locations/ 38 organizations
    • Goal: 682 service provider staff trained.
  • Philadelphia, PA – Office of Homeless Services
    • 33 locations / 29 organizations
    • Goal: 1,240 providers trained.
  • Total Goal: 3,560 people trained

The True Colors Pride Challenge is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) cultural inclusivity training challenge in partnership with youth homelessness service providers across the countryOver the next month, more than 160 service provider organizations will participate in the True Colors Pride Challenge. Between these organizations, our goal is to train 3,560 employees. These trainings are offered in the True Colors Learning Community – a free online training platform, which provides an overview about LGBTQ youth homelessness and an introduction to concepts including gender pronouns, transgender youth, and oppression.

“The online courses provide an individualized learning experience that allows everyone to move at their own pace,” said Gregory Lewis, True Colors Fund Executive Director & CEO. “The True Colors Pride Challenge is the perfect opportunity to get folks galvanized around the issue of LGBTQ youth homelessness during the month of Pride.”

The course curriculum is designed to provide individuals working with youth experiencing homelessness to become more culturally aware and affirming of LGBTQ folks. The training courses provide tips for organizations around inclusive policies and procedures.

“We are leading the charge on the 2018 Pride Challenge because it is critical that we as a homeless service system receive training and support to provide inclusive and affirming services to LGBT youth, who we know make up 30% or more of Philadelphia’s youth experiencing homelessness,” said Liz Hersh, Director of Office of Homeless Services, Philadelphia, PA. “We are so excited with the response to this initiative. We have 30 homeless service providers signed on to take the Challenge with us and a commitment to train over 1300 staff who work directly with individuals experiencing homelessness.”

According to a study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ youth. Our own research shows that LGBTQ young people make up approximately 40% of all young people experiencing homelessness in America. It’s essential that service providers such as shelters, libraries, drop-in centers, and community centers are equipped to meet the unique needs of the LGBTQ young people they serve.

“I work with LGBTQ youth every day and they are strong, passionate, resilient, and turn their struggle into laughter or beautiful forms of art,” said Donald Jackson, Young Adult Leadership Committee member and Diversion Case Manager/Housing Navigator at the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia, PA. “Having citywide trainings across the country for all social services providers who work with LGBTQ individuals will not only give LGBTQ youth hope, but the feeling of acceptance and nurturance from the people that surround them every day.”

We’re tracking progress throughout the Pride Challenge.

We’ll be updating our 2018 Pride Challenge dashboard every Friday in June with the latest data from the challenge. Track the progress of each community here!