At a time when income inequality was the highest point in the 1950s, Kamala Harris announced plans Thursday evening to tackle rising homelessness among LGBT youth – a longstanding community problem that is deepening from
"This is one of the biggest problems we don't talk about enough," the California senator said when asked about LGBTQ homelessness.
"And it's not just in San Francisco and New York. It's in places like Manchester, New Hampshire."
LGBTQ supporters have been pushing Democratic candidates to pay more attention to the increasing number of young LGBTQ people on the verge of homelessness or living on the street. Los Angeles, for example, has seen a 24% jump in youth homelessness this year – and there are some estimates that LGBTQ youth make up 40% of the total.
Here in Los Angeles, where CNN's mayoralties are being held, the LA LGBT Center in Hollywood is taking a new approach as part of their effort to help at-risk LGBTQ members reach full employment. Earlier this year, they launched a culinary arts program in partnership with chefs from LA who teach LGBT students at risk – both young people and seniors – the art of French cooking.
CNN profiled one of the last graduates of the culinary program, 25-year-old Gabriel Rondon, who defined himself as a trance and moved to LA from Texas because he didn't want to fit in with the culture in his small town. He found himself in a hopeless and terrifying situation after being expelled because he could not afford the rent. He finds his passion in the culinary program and hopes to one day open his own non-profit restaurant – one that caters to anyone who is hungry, even if he can't pay.