Community Alliance Against Violence

Thanks to the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in 2011 CAE launched Community Alliance Against Violence, a groundbreaking program that works to reduce violence in the lives of homeless LGBTQ youth. We provide long-term programming for LGBTQ youth in centers and shelters, and train staff who work with young people so they can help them address issues of violence. Based on feedback from partner organizations and prior experience working with LGBTQ youth, CAAV focuses on relationship violence, interpersonal violence, bias crime, and street harassment. To see the overwhelmingly positive results from our independent evaluator, read our Community Alliance Against Violence Year 1 Report.

 “I learned that intervening in violence seen in our community doesn’t necessarily involve us physically getting involved but also can be us just verbally getting involved.”


 “This course made me secure with myself and relieved to know I have the ability to defend myself. I learned everyone has the capacity to find their strength.” 


Close to 40% of homeless youth in New York City identify as LGBTQ.

Homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City experience violence at much higher rate than heterosexual youth. 58%  report sexual assault during their time on the streets.


Currently, CAE works with five NYC-based organizations to provide 20-week violence prevention, self-defense, and empowerment classes for LGBTQ homeless youth, and training sessions for staff . Our partner organizations include Ali Forney Center, Harlem United, Hetrick-Martin Institute, Pride Center of Staten Island, and Sylvia’s Place. The curriculum covers a broad range of topics, including physical and verbal self-defense techniques and discussion about violence in the lives of homeless youth and in society. Our work with staff builds organizations capacity to help young people prevent and respond to violence.

This program includes comprehensive evaluation of youth and staff by an independent evaluator. In the first year of the program, youth reported using the information they gained to avoid potential attacks and de-escalate potential fights. Staff observed youth actively using anti-violence strategies, and reported that they felt better-equipped to support young people around issues of violence.


If you would like more information about CAE’s community workshops, please see Workshops & Trainings, or contact our CVPP coordinator, Kamrin Harbin at