Lost-n-Found Youth is an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to take homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths up to age 25 off the street and transition them into more permanent housing.
Lost-n-Found Youth is the outgrowth of Saint Lost and Found, an LGBTQ homeless youth fund project of the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Founded by Rick Westbrook, Art Izzard, and Paul Swicord after each of them experienced being turned away when attempting to place queer youth into local shelters and youth aid programs, the three resolved that something needed to be done to address the immediate need.
They called a public town hall meeting and invited these local homeless youth support agencies to express outrage and determine what resources existed. The meeting made clear that no organization was specifically actively working to take LGBTQ homeless youth off the street. Rick, Art, Paul and others assembled in November 2011 with the support of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to establish a privately funded emergency shelter, and the Saint Lost and Found project (now Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc.) was born.
“Twenty years ago today, our foster son, EJ Byington, ended his life in our home. He was seventeen. Charming, beautiful, creative and witty, EJ had a tremendous affect on almost everyone who knew him here in Omaha and across the country. He was a remarkable young man with courage and a willingness to be his unique self. His life was also framed by family suicides, addiction, homelessness, sexual abuse and violence and the, then, certain fatal sentence of an AIDS diagnosis. We were proud to welcome him in our home and we have been honored to be among those who preserve his memory.
“While he lived in San Francisco, EJ was a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the farcical drag nuns made famous by Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City book and PBS TV series. Because he would disappear and reappear for periods he was named Sister Lost-n-Found (later Saint Lost-n-Found). A member of the order relocated to Atlanta and founded a homeless shelter for LGBT youth and named it after EJ.”
– Jim Cox, January 2015
- 24/7 phone, texts, and email response
- Emergency and transitional housing
- Emergency clothing and food for youth on the street
- Mental health evaluations and counseling
- Referrals to HIV/STD testing, health and dental services
- Assistance for lost or stolen birth certificates, driver’s licenses or state ID cards
- Referrals to GED training/testing and other education resources
- Resume writing/editing and interview skills training