Local group fights for at-risk gay youth - CBS46 News

Local group fights for at-risk gay youth

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

One man is living on top of a truck to raise awareness of homeless gay youth. National statistics show nearly 40 percent of all homeless kids are gay.

Many end up on the streets because their parents kick them out - disapproving of their sexual orientation.

Rick Westbrook has been living on top of a U-Haul truck since Wednesday and plans live as a homeless person for 48 hours.

Westbrook hopes his actions will raise awareness of the staggering number of homeless gay youth on Atlanta's streets.

"I've taken at least a dozen kids off the street this year," said Westbrook. "A national survey shows we have 24-48 hours to get a youth off the street before they have to do something extreme for survival - whether that be prostitution, selling drugs, or stealing."

Westbrook took his cause to a rooftop of a U-Haul truck to spread the word about the epidemic of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) kids who are kicked out of their homes when they come out of the closet to their families. With nowhere else to go, they end up on the streets.

"I never want any kids to have to hear a sermon to get a meal," said Westbrook.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 58 percent of homeless LGBT youth become sexual victims on the streets.

And the suicide rates are staggering. Nearly 62 percent of homeless LGBT youth end up killing themselves.

Lost n Found supporters showed up to Westbrook's U-Haul donating bags full of coats and canned food.

Westbrook worries there are at least 200 homeless gay kids on the streets of Atlanta every night - and he only sees the problem getting worse.

"It's a huge problem and it's only going to bigger," said Westbrook.

Westbrook will collect coats, canned food, and donations for Lost n Found until Thursday night in Midtown.

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