LOCAL NEWS: Here’s Why Valley Youth House Has Pop-Up Couches All Over Center City Today

The event, #CouchesDontCount, seeks to raise awareness about staggering homeless rates for LGBTQ youth in the city.

Our editor Ernest Owens sitting on a pop up couch for #CouchesDontCount.

Our editor Ernest Owens sitting on a pop up couch for #CouchesDontCount.

Starting today, Valley Youth House will have pop-up couches all over Philadelphia this week as a way to raise awareness about LBGTQ youth homelessness.

The non-profit organization Valley Youth House (VYH) will be placing random couches throughout Center City in its continuous efforts to raise awareness over climbing LGBTQ youth homeless statistics. “In Philadelphia alone, there are roughly 40 percent of homeless youth that identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual,” said Valerie Johnson, VYH’s development officer. “This event is a way to raise awareness that homelessness isn’t just [about] living out in the streets, but also housing insecurity where one has to sleep on couches in unstable conditions in order to survive.”

National numbers also suggest that more than 40 percent of LGBTQ youth run away due to being either forced out of their homes over their orientation/identity or not feeling accepted. VYH first put on the awareness campaign last year for two days in the fall and this time plan to expand it during Philly Pride week for six days with special guests dropping by. Guests are encouraged to use the hashtag #CouchesDontCount and spread the word.

Here are some times, locations, and faces to expect:

June 7
noon-1 p.m.: Barnes & Noble, 18th & Walnut
Hosted by G Philly’s Ernest Owens.

2 p.m.-3 p.m.: Valley Youth House, 15th & Sansom

6 p.m.-8 p.m.: Screening of The Pursuit: 50 Years in the Fight for LGBT Rights
Penn’s LGBT Center, 3907 Spruce Street

June 8
noon-1 p.m.: Cella Luxuria, 1214 Chestnut Street

2 p.m.-3 p.m.: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street

June 9, 10, 11
8 a.m.-6 p.m.: Trans Health Conference
Convention Center, 129 North Broad Street
June 10, 11 a.m. – Hosted by State Rep. Brian Simms

June 12
8 a.m.-6 p.m.: Philly Pride Festival, Penn’s Landing, Front & Market