In Milwaukee, Wis., there are as many as 500 homeless youths on the streets. Forty percent of these children identify as LGBTQ+, and 26 percent of them say they are homeless because their families refused to support them because of who they are.
One organization is working to ensure that these children have a home to go to. Meet Courage MKE.
Brad Schlaikowski and his husband Nick have fostered several homeless teens who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. They told WTMJ-TV Milwaukee that they know all too well the story of kids struggling with the uncertainty of survival after being kicked out because they identified as queer. They created the nonprofit to raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ community in their city.
“We started Courage in December of 2015, so in two years the community has supported us enough to allow us to pay cash for this house,” Schlaikowski said.
Their latest project, The Courage House, will be a group home for LGBTQ+ kids—the first of its kind in the state. The establishment will consist of two three-bedroom homes on the south side of Milwaukee. One house will become a home to eight young people between the ages of 10 and 17 and the other will be a space used for counseling and hanging out.
“The fact that we have this house already and that in less than a year we can open the doors and put eight children in it and get them off of the street is phenomenal,” Schlaikowski said.
Schlaikowski also said that the placement on the south side was intentional, as there aren’t many shelters there.
“If they are rejected from their family, literally put on their stoop, the second they tell their family, with what they have on their back, how do we get from here to wherever the other shelters are,” he said.
The aim of the organization is to have The Courage House up and running to take teens in before next winter. You can donate to the cause here.