The Chicago Youth Storage Initiative (CYSI) continues to make progress locally—and is becoming a voice nationally.
In September 2015, Pierce Family Foundation Executive Director Marianne Philbin and CYSI Project Director Lara Brooks attended the True Colors Fund Summit in Houston, Texas. Nearly 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The True Colors Fund, established by musician Cyndi Lauper, was founded with a mission to end homelessness for this population. At the summit, Marianne and Lara were invited to participate in a panel that highlighted new initiatives around the country. In this forum, Marianne and Lara spoke to more than 150 attendees about CYSI.
In March 2016, Project Director Lara Brooks attended the National Network for Youth's 2016 National Summit on Youth Homelessness. Held in Washington, DC, the conference focused on federal policy updates and initiatives. In addition to discussing CYSI with direct service providers, Lara discussed the issue of youth homelessness with multiple elected officials. Together in partnership with Chicago nonprofits The Night Ministry, Teen Living Programs, and National Runaway Safeline, Lara met with staff from the offices of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, and U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley, Jan Schakowsky, and Danny Davis. Lara also met with Commissioner Rafael Lopez at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.