Inspire Dayton: David’s Place director ‘tirelessly’ works to prevent, address homelessness among LGBTQ youth

For many people, 2020 is seen as a disaster of a year that’s full of stress, unpredictability and uncertainty — but for many of the youth Josh Egeland works with at Daybreak youth homeless programs, that has been their daily existence.

Egeland has spearheaded a new program, David’s Place, at Daybreak that focuses on LGBTQ youth.

“By the same token there is hope there,” Egeland said. “If someone can make it, for instance, to the door of this program, the door of David’s Place, the door of our shelter program, then there’s hope that we can kind of wrap around them all of the different services and supports that we can find, as a way to resolve some of these issues.”

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

National studies show that an estimated 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ, but only 20 percent of the clients at Daybreak are, according to agency officials.

“We knew there were a lot of youth out there in need but they weren’t finding their way to us or didn’t know what to do,” said Joan Shiml, chief development officer at Daybreak.

The Dayton region has a reputation for generosity and banding together in tough times to help one another. Throughout December, the Dayton Daily News will tell the stories of people who have persevered and inspired others during this challenging year.

The new program is called David’s Place. Its namesake, David Mudry, was a gay man from Oakwood who died from an unknown heart condition last year at the age of 23 at his home in Kentucky. Mudry had an accepting family, but wanted to do something to help others not as blessed.

After seeing her son in a vision, David’s mother, Sandy Mudry, worked with the Dayton Foundation and other local groups to create a drop-in center at the Daybreak facility on Patterson Boulevard for young LGBTQ adults. It will include access to designated, safe restroom and shower facilities; educational and support groups; laundry facilities; an LGBTQ library; and office space for partners such as Dayton Children’s Hospital and Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services.

Sandy Mudry said Egeland, LGBTQ program liaison at Daybreak, deserves to be recognized for “tirelessly” working to create David’s Place.

“He is just so kind and caring,” Sandy Mudry told the Dayton Daily News.

Egeland said the program is a group effort involving numerous people at Daybreak and a long list of community partners too numerous to name in this story.

“There will be a lot of prevention work going on with David’s Place,” Egeland said. “By providing a resource hub where individuals can come in, maybe before they’re in a situation of homelessness, our hope is that we‘ll be able to mitigate the crisis that we have not only in this community but in the country.”

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

The drop-in center was supposed to be up and running this year but now the group is aiming for February 2021 after renovations were delayed by COVID-19. Meanwhile Egeland and his group have worked to infuse LGBTQ awareness into other programs at Daybreak and community resources.

Egeland said LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable because of “a lack of family acceptance, a lack of community acceptance, of community support.

“Lots of young folks who identify as LGBTQ are torn between wanting to be actualized, be self determined in their lives and the way they live their lives, and also fearing that their support system, their safety net, will be pulled out from under them if they come out to their family.”

Operating traditional programs at Daybreak has had its challenges this year, Shiml said. School-age children they provide emergency shelter for — about a third of their clients — are now having to do online classes at the shelter. It’s harder to find longer-term housing for young adult clients because people aren’t moving as much.

Shiml said they have seen increased demand during the pandemic. And they know the need is out there: Last year Daybreak served 762 children and young adults, but Montgomery County data suggests about 1,800 homeless youth are in the area.


Inspire Dayton

Throughout the month of December, the Dayton Daily News will tell the stories of people who have persevered and inspired others during this challenging year. Tell us who inspired you in 2020 by emailing jordan.laird@coxinc.com.

How to help

The Daybreak youth shelter provides housing and assistance to homeless youth ages 10 to 24. Financial donations can be made on the agency’s website at www.Daybreak.org/donate-now. The agency also has an Amazon Wish List listing specific items the non-profit shelter needs.

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