By John Mikytuck
March 18, 2010
A man steps into the basement entrance of Trinity Lutheran Church, on West 100th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues. Most people passing by don’t notice him, or the entrance, their attention focused instead on the scaffolding snaking its way to the top of the steeple. Faded plywood sheets cover a large oval window above the doors, and an over-sized sign reading “Yes, we’re open… in every way” hangs in front, positioned, it seems, to counter the impression that the church is closed.
As the basement door opens, other young people mill about inside. This is Trinity Place Shelter, a safe-haven for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 21. Both the shelter and Trinity, an “activist immigrant congregation” established in 1888, are housed in a church that is in desperate need of repair.