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© 2017 by New Alternatives

New Alternatives

410 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018

(718) 300-0133

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Recent studies indicate that LGBTQ+ youth comprise nearly 40% of the homeless youth population in New York City. At an estimated 7% of the total population, young people in our community are disproportionately affected by homelessness and are more likely to experience bullying, sexual assault, violence, trauma, HIV infection, mental health disorders, and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers.


Every night, thousands of LGBTQ+ youth and young adults have no place to call home in NYC. Whether they have been kicked out by homophobic relatives, forced to flee conservative communities, aged out of foster care, or come from families torn apart by poverty and drug abuse, these young people sleep in city parks, on the subway, and in public facilities like Port Authority and Penn Station. A fortunate few might find a safe haven in one of NYC’s housing programs or shelters designed for this population, but such facilities are scarce and so underfunded that most youth wait months to gain entry. Others are subjected to shelter in large, city-funded institutions where they frequently fall victim to homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, harassment, and violence.


New Alternatives is advocating for change. We are dedicated to the care and well-being of these young people and at the forefront of combating the epidemic of poverty and homelessness in New York City's LGBTQ+ youth population. We aim to provide all youth who come to us for support with the tools and resources they need to thrive.


New Alternatives provides a range of services designed to help LGBTQ+ youth succeed in transitioning to stable adult lives and welcomes all youth as they are with no barriers to entry.


Basic Needs

Nutritious homemade meals, distribution of hygiene supplies, emergency clothing, MetroCards, urgent referrals for shelter, and referrals for primary care and psychiatric support are all part of the ways we meet the essential needs of homeless youth.


Case Management

This is the place for young people to bring their problems. None are too big or small. Arrest warrants, finding a long-lost relative, applying for disability benefits, returning to high school or college, back taxes... We help with all of it!


Community-Building Recreational Activities

College tours, barbecues, camping, beach trips, apple picking, holiday celebrations, and trips to conferences are just some of the many activities that we offer throughout the year.



We strive to ensure all youth have the opportunity to learn. Our volunteer tutors are always on hand to assist with GED and SAT preparation, college applications, and financial aid paperwork.


Life Skills Training

Whether the topic is HIV prevention, anger management, nutrition, or conflict resolution, the skills discussed in our weekly life skills group are relevant and vital.



Creative writing and video groups give our youth the chance to express themselves and share their experiences in an artistic and therapeutic way.


Testing and Prevention

New Alternatives provides onsite STI testing and referrals for comprehensive health services through our partnership with Project Stay. Project STAY is administered jointly by the New York Presbyterian Hospital Ambulatory Care Network Corporation and the Harlem Health Promotion Center (HHPC) within the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.


KATE BARNHART | Executive Director

Kate Barnhart is a long-time AIDS activist and member of ACT UP/NY who has engaged in numerous acts of civil disobedience protesting issues related to HIV/AIDS, healthcare, and police brutality.  She has worked with at-risk youth since 1994, including six years working with young felons at CASES, an alternative-to-incarceration program.  Since 2001, she has worked with homeless LGBTQ+ youth.  She spent five years serving as Director of Sylvia's Place, an emergency shelter for LGBTQ+ homeless youth, and is currently the Executive Director of New Alternatives for LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth, an organization she founded in October 2008. In her free time, Ms. Barnhart rescues and rehabilitates stray cats.


Johnnie, a licensed social worker, graduated from The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Their first exposure to working with homeless youth came as a kitchen volunteer at New Alternatives in 2014. Now, Johnnie provides mental health counseling services for clients in need and intensive case management for our HIV+ clients. They also visit with hospitalized and incarcerated clients in addition to providing alcohol and substance abuse counseling. Prior to joining New Alternatives, Johnnie was a psychotherapist at GMHC and a mentor with The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research’s Step-Up program, working with at risk youth in the Bronx. In their spare time, Johnnie is both a Peer Counselor at Identity House and a Youth Counselor at The Ali Forney Center.

Pronouns: they/them/their —

MISTY PADILLA | Program Assistant

Misty Padilla is a former homeless youth who is now the Program Assistant at New Alternatives. She previously interned at Sylvia's Place, a shelter for LGBTQ+ youth, and is also a member of Fountain House, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery of men and women with mental illnesses. She is proud to be a role model for the clients at New Alternatives.

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President – Michael Pinterics

Treasurer – Jeffry Mummert

Secretary – Harlem Gunness

Andy Humm

Jackson Sherratt

Michaela Murphy

Grant Woolfolk


Our funders are as diverse and varied as the community we serve, and we are truly thankful for all of the foundations and organizations that have demonstrated their commitment to the well-being of LGBTQ+ homeless youth in 2018. We gratefully acknowledge our most generous supporters: 

New Alternatives would like to extend a very special thank you to the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation and the Lawson Valentine Foundation for their annual support. 

The Ally Coalition

The band Fun. and designer Rachel Antonoff joined forces to create The Ally Coalition (TAC) with the purpose of inspiring people, in particular their peers in music, fashion, and entertainment, to take action for LGBTQ+ equality. TAC believes that it is the responsibility of allies to support LGBTQ+ causes and fight against discrimination through education, awareness, and advocacy.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, they have raised more than $285 million for essential services for people living with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC.

The Collegiate Churches of New York

Established in 1628, The Collegiate Churches of New York have deep roots in our great city, yet they've embraced a thoroughly modern perspective on spirituality and community in a greater world. Founded in the tradition of Reformed Protestantism, they respond to the spiritual needs of people today by embracing diversity, affirmation, openness, and justice.


Stonewall Community Foundation

The Stonewall Community Foundation is a foundation by and for the LGBTQ+ community. They raise money and fund work that makes a difference on the issues that matter in our lives, from education and violence to family acceptance and health. With a focus on equity, they are one of the top funders of LGBTQ+ housing and homelessness, and nearly a third of all their grants benefit programs serving youth. 

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