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Covenant House Greater Washington to Launch SHINE, a New Safe Space Initiative for LGBTQ+ Youth

For Immediate Release:

October 1, 2021

Contact: Marlena Tracy Chief Development & External Affairs Officer

Washington, DC - Covenant House Greater Washington is pleased to announce SHINE – a new safe space initiative created specifically for LGBTQ+ populations. The program will provide emergency shelter, crisis stabilization, and short-term housing options to young people in the Greater Washington region.

SHINE, a program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and or questioning, intersex, asexual and/or allied (LGBTQ+) consists of 24 beds, case management services, and an array of support from various community-based organizations currently working with LGBTQ+ youth. These trauma-informed services were created with the goal of positive youth development and are culturally appropriate and specific to LGBTQ+ youth.

“We are very excited to launch a program that serves LGBTQ+ young people who experience homelessness at a rate 120% higher than that of their peers,” says Covenant House Greater Washington CEO, Angela Jones Hackley. "We have done a great deal of work with the community to make this happen, and SHINE is a program that our amazing LGBTQ+ young people will benefit from, and most importantly, something that will create lasting impact in their lives."

Services provided within the program will work to provide housing stability, promote self-esteem, increase social connectedness and resilience, and decrease risk for suicidal behaviors and self-harm. All services are housed within a setting that provides safety, support, and allows youth to be their whole-selves within the space; not having to compartmentalize their various identities to fit in or feel safe.

Additionally, SHINE will provide social and emotional support for LGBTQ+ youth who may be particularly vulnerable to or at elevated risk for violence, by connecting LGBTQ+ youth to needed services identified through individual assessment. Self-esteem and resilience are promoted among participating youth through the development of leadership skills, event planning, and opportunities for community engagement.

SHINE will be led by newly hired Covenant House Greater Washington Program Director, Taylor Chandler Walker. Taylor is a former sign language interpreter and crisis management consultant, published author and national speaker on Intersex & TGNC Equity, Access and Rights. She created and facilitated Project GROWTH, a workforce development grant through DHS for TGNC youth, 18-24, homeless or at risk while at Us Helping Us, Inc. Taylor is also part of the Marketing Team with Capital Pride Alliance and Capital Trans Pride. She sits on boards with the DC Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, FLUX AIDS Healthcare Foundation, HealthHIV, Capital Pride, LGBT Budget Coalition, and the National Trans Visibility March Opioid Awareness.

About Covenant House Greater Washington

For over 26 years, Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW) has served as the region’s leading non-profit throughout the area in protecting, supporting, and transforming the lives of youth ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness, disconnection, and exploitation. CHGW has provided a safe harbor and wrap-around supportive services to one of the area’s most vulnerable populations. The programs and services offered to young people help them to get back on track in achieving housing, career, and economic stability.

For more information on SHINE and other Covenant House programs, please visit us online at



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