After months of renovation, the new Zebra Coalition House, located at 911 North Mills Avenue, will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony led by City of Orlando District 4 Commissioner, Patty Sheehan.
The Zebra Coalition House will provide office space for the Zebra Coalition staff and offer case management and counseling; medical services; a food, hygiene and clothing bank; laundry and shower facilities; education and career support; a resource library; and a computer center to at-risk LGBTQ youth. It will also serve other Coalition members as a location for peer support and discussion groups, art and music therapy and educational and therapeutic workshops.
“We are proud to be here representing the City of Orlando and recognizing the critical services that the Zebra Coalition® and the new Zebra Coalition® House provide to at-risk youth in Central Florida,” said Mayor Dyer. “The Zebra Coalition is the only organization in Central Florida that provides a full continuum of services to the LGBTQ youth community.”
The Zebra Coalition was established in response to the growing number of LGBTQ youth in Central Florida who are experiencing homelessness, bullying, extreme physical and sexual abuse, isolation from their families, and a wide range of life challenges or setbacks.
“In Central Florida, existing homeless shelters do not have the protocols or the staff to safely take in these young people under 18, unless they are with an adult,” said Dexter Foxworth, director of the Zebra Coalition. “Most of the youth whom we are serving don’t have that adult with them since they have been kicked out of their own homes and are facing issues with finding affordable housing.”
The Zebra Coalition assists young people facing homelessness; bullying; physical, sexual and drug abuse; and isolation from their families with individualized programs to guide them to recovery and stability. The Zebra Coalition also operates a 24-hour youth crisis hotline (1.877.90 ZEBRA), emergency and short-term housing and provides the Zebra Coalition® House as a safe haven and community resource. For more information about the Zebra Coalition®, visit www.zebrayouth.org.