5.4 Ozone House: LGBTQ2S Inclusive Emergency Services

Ozone House is a community-based nonprofit agency located in Ann Arbor, Michigan that helps young people aged 10 to 21 lead safe, healthy and productive lives through intensive intervention and prevention services. Since 1969, we have actively developed unique, high-quality housing, services and support programs that provide intervention, training and services for youth who have run away, are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, and their families. Through these support services, we help youth develop essential life skills, improve their relationships and enhance their self-image so they may realize their full potential for growth and happiness.

Since the early 1970s, Ozone House has reached out to and provided support for LGBTQ2S youth. Mirroring national statistics, at any given time, between 20–35% of youth who come to Ozone House identify as LGBTQ2S. Because not all youth at Ozone House identify as LGBTQ2S, we prioritize policies that promote inclusion for LGBTQ2S people, as well as policies and practices that ensure all youth and adults develop the skills necessary to reinforce equity and inclusion of all intersectional identities.

Ozone House does not approach this work in a vacuum; the historical context of violence, dehumanization and oppression that LGBTQ2S youth have faced is an ever-present consideration for the environment we create at Ozone House, and for understanding and mitigating these experiences that youth and their families have faced. As such, Ozone House bears a special responsibility to advocate for LGBTQ2S youth in the broader community and to soften the context in which LGBTQ2S youth live, work and interact with others. Providing services that help youth lead safe, healthy, and productive lives is our primary mission. To achieve this mission effectively for LGBTQ2S youth, we focus on four critical components: our responsibilities as an organization, the environment at Ozone House, community education and advocacy, and provision of exceptional services, supports and opportunities.

Alex Abramovich
Jama Shelton
Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness