New App Connects Homeless LGBTQ Youth to Resources

New App Connects Homeless LGBTQ Youth to Resources

Developer works with local collaborative project dedicated to ending LGBTQ youth homelessness


Cincinnati, Ohio – February 23, 2016

It’s the perfect match. Safe and Supported, an initiative to prevent and reduce LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) youth homelessness, and local app developer Dr. Mark Mussman. Safe and Supported was interested in building an app to help connect homeless LGBTQ youth to resources in the community. Mussman, who was familiar with Safe and Supported, wanted to build an app for a non-profit. The two soon created a partnership and the Upz mobile app was born.

The Upz app is designed to connect LGBTQ homeless youth, or those at risk of becoming homeless, with emergency resources such as shelters, medical care, hotlines to prevent suicide and self-harm, and food.

“The primary reason LGBTQ youth become homeless is family rejection,” said Safe and Supported Director Melissa Meyer, “The Upz app can connect them to resources that can help them build positive and supportive connections, an important element in addressing LGBTQ youth homelessness.” Upz makes it as easy as possible for youth to reach out for help. It directly and easily links youth with the services they need.


Dr. Mussman of the Creative App Project and the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition went straight to the source during development. “We were inspired by homeless youth residing at the Lighthouse Sheakley Center for Youth who contributed their ideas and provided feedback as we developed the app.”

This project was funded in part by The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation.

Safe and Supported, is a project of Lighthouse Youth Services, in partnership with Strategies to End to Homelessness, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) of Greater Cincinnati, and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Greater Cincinnati among many others.  Together they have developed and are now implementing a community plan to end LGBTQ youth homelessness by 2020 by n improving outcomes for LGBTQ youth in four core areas: Social and Emotional Well-Being; Permanent Connections; Education and Employment; and Permanent Connections. Cincinnati is one of two communities in the country selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to participate in the LGBTQ Homelessness Prevention Initiative. Nationally, up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ



Melissa Meyer
Safe and Supported Director
Lighthouse Youth Services



Dr. Mark Mussman
Director of Education
Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless
513 421-7803