Organization prepares midtown building as gay homeless center - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Atlanta non-profit prepares midtown building to serve as gay teen homeless center

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

A non-profit organization in Atlanta will convert a more than century-old midtown building into a homeless center for gay teens, according to the organization's director. The Lost N' Found organization focuses on helping gay teens overcome homelessness.

Lost N' Found's director says it is a problem facing hundreds of teens in the Atlanta region, when their parents and churches disown them after they announce their homosexuality.

"People need to know this is an epidemic in the southeast, and it's not going away any time soon," said Executive Director Rick Westbrook. "Until we get all the queer youths in Atlanta situated, I'm not going anywhere."

He said they acquired the turn of the 20th century era Victorian home on Juniper Street from St. Mark's United Methodist Church. The church agreed to lease the long-abandoned building to Lost N' Found for 20 years, at $1 a year.

"I've already paid the rent, yes," said Westbrook, with a smile.

His organization is seeing huge donations through diverted funds for Daniel Pierce, the Georgia teen who secretly recorded his parents' reaction to his announcement he is gay. After the video went viral, Pierce saw nearly $100,000 come in to support his fund for living expenses, his parents having forced him to leave the house.

Westbrook said Pierce made contact with Lost N' Found, and offered to give some of that money.

"I would say we're right at $10,000 (through Pierce donations), said Westbrook. "Daniel is an incredibly bright and courageous young man. He is the epitome of who Lost n' Found is here to serve."

Westbrook said he expects the renovations to be complete, and the building open, by the spring of 2015.

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