Human Services

New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth

aka New Alternatives   |   NEW YORK, NY   |  https://www.newalternativesnyc.org

Mission

New Alternatives increases the self-sufficiency of LGBTQ+ homeless youth by enabling them to transition out of the shelter system to stable adult lives. We do this by providing long-term support, weekly case management, education services, life skills training, community-building recreational activities, opportunities for self-expression, and programs for HIV+ youth. Our guiding principles are those of harm reduction, youth development, and empowerment.

Ruling year info

2010

Director

Ms. Kate Barnhart

Main address

410 W 40th St

NEW YORK, NY 10018 USA

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EIN

27-2151000

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

Alcohol, Drug Abuse (Prevention Only) (F21)

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Every night, hundreds of LGBTQ+ youth and young adults have no place to call home in New York City. Whether they have been kicked out by homophobic relatives, forced to flee conservative communities, aged out of foster care, or come from families torn apart by poverty and drug abuse, these young people sleep in city parks, on the subway, and in public spaces like Port Authority and Penn Station. In fact, homelessness in New York City is currently at its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. A point-in-time count on February 9, 2015 by the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York identified 1,706 unaccompanied homeless youth out of a total of 6,359 homeless youth under the age of 25. It is estimated that up to 40% of these unaccompanied youth identify as LGBTQ+, a staggering and heartbreaking statistic considering LGBTQ+ youth amount to only 7% of the total youth population.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Sunday Community Dinner and Life Skills Workshop

Every Sunday evening, we provide our clients with a homemade meal, a safe space to be with their peers, and a place to discuss issues affecting their daily lives. All youth who attend these gatherings also have the opportunity to collect hygiene supplies, shop our donated clothing closet, and receive comprehensive HIV & STI screenings through our partnership with Project Stay. After dinner, we offer an interactive Life Skills Group that focuses on issues and topics relevant to the needs of our clients including suicide prevention, HIV/AIDS education, anger management, conflict resolution, nutrition, and housing rights.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people
Homeless people

In addition to counseling and crisis intervention, our Case Management Clinic offers young people assistance with any challenges or obstacles they may face. They simply need to walk in. We have staff and volunteers available to help our clients obtain identifying documents, apply for benefits, prepare housing applications, access medical and mental health services, complete admission and financial aid applications for college, and apply for employment just to name a few of the services we provide regularly.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people
Homeless people

In addition to our primary programs, we offer a number of support groups and recreational activities to our clients. • HIV+ Peer Support Group • Creative Writing Group • Book Club • Recovery Support • Anger Management

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people
Homeless people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people,Homeless people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

youth who accessed drop-in services

Number of new clients within the past 12 months

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people,Homeless people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Clients who joined us for the first time for a meal and/or life skills workshop.

Number of participants attending course/session/workshop

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people,Homeless people

Related Program

Sunday Community Dinner and Life Skills Workshop

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Clients who attended at least one Life Skills Workshop

Number of individual case management sessions provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people,Homeless people

Related Program

Walk-In Case Management Clinic

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Case Mgmt sessions address issues such as benefits, education, employment, food/clothing/hygiene, housing, government ID, Legal, mental health, physical health, travel needs, and other issues.

Annual Sunday dinner attendance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people,Homeless people

Related Program

Sunday Community Dinner and Life Skills Workshop

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Statistics on LGBTQ+ youth homelessness are just the beginning. LGBTQ+ youth also experience higher rates of bullying, sexual assault, violence, trauma, HIV infection, mental health disorders, and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers, which indicates the needs of homeless LGBTQ+ youth go far beyond housing alone. While these youth do cite housing and shelter as their primary need, many may be surprised to learn that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning homeless youth typically rate acceptance and emotional support as their second greatest need. Transgender homeless youth claim transition-related support as their number two need. This includes name/gender marker changes, access to trans-specific healthcare, access to hormones, legal assistance, and community support. <br/><br/>New Alternatives aims to address all of these needs and more with individualized care and long-term support. We recognize that guiding LGBTQ+ homeless youth toward stability and maintaining an accessible support system are crucial if we are going foster an environment where they can thrive and successfully transition to adulthood and self-sufficiency. Our primary goal is to ensure all LGBTQ+ homeless youth who walk through our doors find secure housing, adequate healthcare, opportunities for education and fair employment, and a loving community where they belong.

New Alternatives primarily assists LGBTQ+ youth who are 16–24 years of age and homeless or at risk. We define homelessness broadly to include youth living on the street, youth in shelters or transitional living programs, and youth without a permanent place to stay.<br/> <br/>New clients are accepted on a walk-in basis every Monday, Friday, and Sunday. We welcome all youth as they are without judgment and no barriers to entry. Identification and paperwork are not required for registration, and a referral letter is not necessary. Youth can simply walk in and begin receiving services immediately. This zero-barrier-to-entry approach allows us to reach young people who are street homeless and others whose lives are too chaotic and unstable to navigate paperwork, waiting lists, and set appointment times. In addition, we utilize harm-reduction methods that allow us to work with youth deemed "too difficult" or problematic by other organizations and frequently work with clients who have been removed from other agencies or shelters—young people with severe mental illness, challenging behavior, or addiction issues.<br/><br/>We also use a distinctively client-centered approach focused on empowerment. Instead of restricting our clients to a predetermined agenda or set of priorities, we allow them to tell us what issues they need assistance with and to define their own goals. This gives us the opportunity to establish trust and approach each case on an individual, needs-specific basis. Through long-term support and engagement, we can then begin to unravel more difficult issues and trauma that can take years to resolve.<br/><br/>Some of the many services we provide include:<br/><br/>Basic Needs<br/>Nutritious homemade meals, distribution of hygiene supplies, emergency clothing, MetroCards, urgent referrals for shelter, and referrals for primary care and psychiatric support are all part of the ways we meet the essential needs of homeless youth.<br/> <br/>Case Management<br/>This is the place for young people to bring their problems. None are too big or small—arrest warrants, finding a long-lost relative, applying for disability benefits, returning to high school or college, back taxes... We help with all of it!<br/> <br/>Community-Building Recreational Activities<br/>College tours, barbecues, camping, beach trips, apple picking, holiday celebrations, and trips to conferences are just some of the many activities that we offer throughout the year.<br/> <br/>Education<br/>We strive to ensure all youth have the opportunity to learn. Our volunteer tutors are always on hand to assist with GED and SAT preparation, college applications, and financial aid paperwork.<br/> <br/>Life Skills Training<br/>Whether the topic is HIV prevention, anger management, nutrition, or conflict resolution, the skills discussed in our weekly life skills group are relevant and vital.<br/><br/>Testing and Prevention<br/>New Alternatives provides onsite STI testing and referrals for comprehensive health services through our partnership with Project Stay.

As a small, independent nonprofit organization, New Alternatives is uniquely situated to help LGBTQ+ homeless youth. In 2008, our founder and Executive Director, Kate Barnhart, recognized there was an unfilled need for continuous, long-term case management after many years of working with this population. Too often, a young person's access to social services was tied to their housing. When transitioning from temporary shelters to other housing support programs or between different programs, young people would have to start over again and again with a new case manager resulting in the loss of progress and trust that had been established.<br/><br/>New Alternatives was designed to offer a new solution. It was created to be a standalone organization that provides support and guidance for homeless youth through all stages of homelessness and throughout the entire time, in most cases many years, it takes to become a self-sufficient adult. We also have the flexibility to adapt to the individual needs of our clients and can tailor our support to their specific circumstances. In addition to Kate's leadership, we have amassed a database of over 1,000 volunteers who support our programs and help us provide our services. As a predominately volunteer organization, we are able to accomplish a tremendous amount with a relatively minimal budget.<br/><br/>Our twice-weekly Case Management Clinic offers young people assistance with any challenges or obstacles they may face. They simply need to walk in. We have staff and volunteers available to help with housing, benefits, identification, physical health, mental health, legal issues, education, and employment. We also offer individual counseling and crisis intervention.<br/><br/>Our Sunday Community Dinners provide clients with a homemade meal, a safe space to be with their peers, and a place to discuss issues affecting their daily lives. Clients also have the opportunity to collect hygiene supplies, shop our donated clothing closet, and receive comprehensive HIV & STI testing at these gatherings. <br/><br/>Through our Angel Donor program, we respond to the individual needs of clients and fill urgent requests such as bus tickets home, uniforms for work, household items for a first apartment, college textbooks, and MetroCards for youth starting new jobs. We also offer a variety of client support groups including a weekly life skills group, a book club, a creative writing group, and an HIV peer support group.

We record our success through meticulous data collection and qualitative feedback from our clients. Our data is evaluated using a collection system designed specifically for New Alternatives by Dr. Geoffrey Ream of the Adelphi School of Social Work. The system, which has been in place since we opened our doors in 2008, tracks the progress of our youth on a continuum in the key areas of housing, employment, education, and benefits. For example, street homelessness is on one end of the housing continuum while stable, independent housing is on the opposite end. In addition, we conduct regular focus groups with our clients to receive feedback on what they believe is and is not helpful for them. <br/><br/>We also capture anecdotal evidence and document the success stories of our clients on a regular basis. One we would like to share here is the story of Sarah:<br/><br/>Sarah had a rough start in life. Abandoned at birth, she was adopted by a couple who abused her emotionally, physically, and sexually. This trauma resulted in significant developmental and mental health challenges as Sarah grew older. Deemed too difficult, her adoptive parents ultimately rejected Sarah and returned her to the system where she spent the remainder of her childhood in a facility. At twenty-one, she moved into supportive housing. However, the neighborhood was not safe for Sarah. As a trans woman, she faced repeated threats of violence and so much harassment that she was forced to leave.<br/><br/>New Alternatives provided Sarah with emotional and practical support as she struggled in a succession of temporary shelters. We supplied her with home-cooked meals, clothing, hygiene supplies, and continuous care. We advocated on her behalf, assisted her in resolving numerous legal issues, helped her find safe housing, and taught her essential life skills. Now, Sarah lives in her own apartment and is obtaining her high school equivalency degree, completing probation, and starting a paid internship at a local nonprofit organization.

Stories like Sarah's are common at New Alternatives. In a recent 24-hour period, we helped a young woman completing a drug program get her NYS ID, referred a client with mental illness to the Mental Health Law Project for assistance with disability benefits, helped a young man enroll in classes to become a Nursing Assistant, discussed peer counseling programs with a young woman coping with schizophrenia, helped a client prep for a job interview, reviewed housing options with a young man in an emergency shelter, created a budget with a young woman for her disability payments, completed paperwork necessary to transfer a client with diabetes to a facility where he can cook for himself, and referred a young man feeling unsafe in a city shelter to a safe housing program for LGBTQ+ young adults.<br/><br/>That was just a single day at New Alternatives. Now, imagine what we have accomplished over the past decade. We are proud to be entering our 10th year serving LGBTQ+ homeless youth in New York City and would like to thank the many supporters and volunteers who have made our work possible. Looking ahead, we hope to add a new social worker to our staff in 2018 and will continue to strengthen and expand our programs. We will always strive to ensure the young people we serve are housed, clothed, fed, cared for, and educated.

Financials

New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth

Board of directors
as of 3/30/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Michael Pinterics

General Electric

Term: 2017 - 2020

Andy Humm

Self-Employed

Jeffry Mummert

Salesforce

Grant Woolfolk

Michaela Murphy

Mike Pinterics

GE

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Keywords

Homeless LGBTQ Youth Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Trans Queer Questioning Homosexual Advocacy Counseling Support Community Self-Sufficiency Development Empowerment Education Employment HIV+ Food Meals Hygiene Writing Social Services Referrals Drop-in