Harbor House of Central Florida, House of Mentoring and Empowerment and Christ Church Unity Join the Zebra Coalition

Posted on: April 10th, 2013

Twenty-two Zebra Coalition® members provide a full continuum of services to at-risk LGBT+ youth

ORLANDO, Fla. – Wed., April 10, 2013 –Harbor House of Central Florida, House of Mentoring and Empowerment (HOME) and Christ Church Unity have joined the Zebra Coalition®, a network of Central Florida social service providers, government agencies, schools, and colleges and universities that provides a full continuum of services to at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all youth (LGBT+).

“We are proud to have these organizations join the Zebra Coalition® to assist in our goal of meeting the specialized needs of LGBT+ youth,” said Dexter Foxworth, director of the Zebra Coalition.® “The Coalition provides each young person with an individualized program that helps guide them to recovery and stability.”

Harbor House, the only certified domestic abuse shelter in Orange County, will provide youth with tools for empowerment, education and awareness regarding domestic violence and teen dating abuse. HOME, the only organization in Central Florida that is specifically designed to serve victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation of children, will reach out to the youth with information and programming about sexual exploitation, which they may have experienced or witnessed. HOME and the Zebra Coalition® will also reach youth through joint street outreach programs. Christ Church Unity, a welcoming community dedicated to transforming lives, celebrating diversity and supporting soul growth, will provide spiritual support to the youth.

The Zebra Coalition® was established in 2010 in response to the growing number of LGBT+ youth, ages 13 to 24, 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.

Each Zebra Coalition® member organization provides essential services that, together, provide a full continuum of assistance for Central Florida’s youth.

The Zebra Coalition® members include: The Center for Drug Free Living, Christ Church Unity, The City of Orlando Housing and Community Development, The City of Orlando Police Department, The Coalition for the Homeless, Equality Florida, The GLBT Community Center, GLSEN, Harbor House of Central Florida, The Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, Inc., House of Mentoring and Empowerment, Human Services Associates, Inc., Joy Metropolitan Community Church, Metropolitan Business Association, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando Youth Alliance, PFLAG Orlando, PFLAG Brevard County, Rollins College, Stetson University, University of Central Florida and The Zebra Foundation for Youth®.

The following services are offered by the Zebra Coalition®:

  •          Drop-in center
  • ·          24-hour youth crisis hotline (1.877.90.ZEBRA)
  • ·          Emergency and short-term housing
  • ·          Needs assessment
  • ·          Food and clothing
  • ·          Medical resources and care
  • ·          Mental health counseling
  • ·          Drug and alcohol addiction counseling
  • ·          Continuing education
  • ·          Employment assistance
  • ·          Transportation
  • ·          Aftercare and ongoing counseling
  • ·          Intervention and peer support

The Zebra Coalition® House, located at 911 North Mills Avenue in Orlando, offers a safe and supportive environment for LGBT+ youth through case management and counseling; medical services; a food, hygiene and clothing bank; laundry and shower facilities; education; and career support. The house also serves other Coalition members as a location for peer support and discussion groups, art and music therapy and education, and therapeutic workshops. Nearly 900 youth visits have taken place at the house since it opened in December 2012.

The average direct cost to manage one Zebra Coalition® youth for one month is approximately $500. Donations to the Zebra Coalition® may be made through the Zebra Foundation for Youth®.

For more information about the Zebra Coalition®, visit http://www.zebrayouth.org.