The WNC Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Initiative presented Jan. 19, Homelessness & Queer Youth in WNC, a free panel discussion at First Congregational United Church of Christ.

Panel participants, from left to right, Zeke Christopolous, executive director, Tranzmission, Peggy Weil, advocacy coordinator, Western North Carolina AIDS Project, Joey Lopez, Haywood Street Congregation and Campaign for Southern Equality, Jon Cox, case manager for Trinity Place Youth Shelter, and Allister Stryan of Help Out Youth.

Joshua Bledsoe from Blue Ridge Community College, far right, served as a panel moderator.

Asheville’s a welcoming place for LGBTQ youth, but homeless quandary persists

The scarcity of jobs in Asheville, an already difficult job horizon for LGBTQ people, as well as difficult, intolerant home situations often mean unstable housing for these WNC youths. As Asheville becomes more and more an attractive and welcoming place for LGBTQ teens and young adults in the area as well as the country, the influx compounds the homeless situation.