Parker Werns
Program Coordinator

Our Vision

Our Leadership

As a response to a national and local crisis Proud Haven Inc. was first conceived in 2012, incorporated in Pennsylvania in April 2013 and received IRS approval as a 501(c)(3) in September 2014. A full board began work in November 2015.

Proud Haven will be the first overnight shelter of its kind in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. We are in the process of raising funds and locating resources to open and sustain our shelter in Pittsburgh. 


Finance Committee Chair

Lindsay has spent her entire career working in nonprofits that serve low-income people, including Rebuilding Together and Action-Housing.  She has a Master’s degree in nonprofit management.  Lindsay was the vice president of the board of directors for La Escuelita Arcoiris, a Spanish-immersion preschool, for 5 years. She is looking forward to bringing her knowledge to help LGTBQ+ youth find a safe haven where they feel like they belong.

Alana is a third-year doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Sociology. She received both her Bachelor's (African American Studies) and Master's (American Culture Studies) degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include the construction and socialization of black masculinity, black feminism, gendered violence of black trans and non-trans women and intervention and survivor networks.
Alana has become and worked tirelessly as an advocate and mentor for young women who are survivors of sexual trauma, has worked closely with adolescent male perpetrators, and become increasingly more involved in activism engaging in anti-violence campaigns for black folks. Alana is a queer black woman and survivor who believes in the liberatory power of living openly, honestly, and authentically. She also believes in the power of shared knowledge, and seeks out collaborations that work to inform and empower herself and others.

​Legal Affairs Committee Chair
Our Mission

What is Proud Haven?

Lyndsey is currently youth programs manager at the Persad Center. In addition, they are an executive steering committee member of TransPride Pittsburgh and an executive steering committee member of the Hot Metal Hardware Gender Performance Troupe. Previously they were a board chair of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center (GLCC), now the Pittsburgh Equality Center.  Prior to working at Persad, Lyndsey was the project coordinator of the Youth Empowerment Project at the University of Pittsburgh.

Julie is a community-focused change agent with over 10 years of cross-functional experience in the social impact sector. She currently works for Global Links managing the Community Partners Program where she assesses and develops partnerships with safety net organizations and free clinics to provide medical supplies, equipment, mobility aids, etc. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Pittsburgh Cares.

David has been very active with The Oasis Center in Nashville, TN as a partner from the corporate side of the world. He has been a key partner in strategizing for fundraising and making the greater community aware of the programs the center provides.  David was recently named Nashville's LGBT Business Leader of the Year. He also started the EQUAL LGBT & Ally Employee Resources Group at Dollar General's national headquarters in Nashville.

Parker works part-time with Proud Haven as the Program Coordinator. He is also the Coordinator of Student Programming at Point Park University where he provides diversity-related training for students, faculty, and staff. He is currently working towards his Master’s degree in Higher Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Previously, Parker attended Penn State, where he began doing advocacy work for the LGBTQ community by providing campus-wide LGBTQ-101 seminars and advising the president of the university on LGBTQ-related issues. He looks forward to continuing his advocacy work in the Pittsburgh region by helping to support a portion of local homeless LGBTQ+ youth population. 

For housing requests, please contact Parker at

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Our Progress

Our Story

We will be a leading resource for shelter and support services that improve the quality of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) youth who are experiencing homelessness as well as an advocate for the  LGBTQ+ population as a whole.

LGBTQ+ youth need and deserve their own shelter.

Program Coordinator Parker Werns

2017 Proud Haven Board Members at Proud Haven's Tunes & Tapas Fundraiser


Real Estate Committee Chair​

A Place To Be Home

Debbie is a co-founder and board member of Proud Haven. They hold an M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Robert Morris University and a B.S. in Accounting from Manhattan College. Debbie has over 30 years of experience in accounting, with the past 20 years spent working with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations in their adopted hometown of Pittsburgh. They are the director of finance at MANY and also serves on the finance committee for the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. They have also served on the boards of GLSEN, Traveler’s Aid of Pittsburgh, and the ToonSeum. Debbie is particularly interested in working with and supporting organizations that serve marginalized and at-risk populations.

Deeply troubling national statistics have found that 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+. Available data suggests that conditions are similar in the Pittsburgh region.

Many traditional service providers cannot or will not provide physical and emotional safety, support and resources for their sexual and gender identities, and the encouragement they need to reach their full potential as independent, confident adults.

Identity-based family rejection is the most common reason these youth become homeless. Even if their family is supportive, youth may face harassment and violence at school or in their neighborhood that's so severe that they would rather leave home than spend another day in fear. Once they leave home, youth are subject to all the indignities of being unstably housed, including devastating health and psychological consequences, hunger, and the disruption of their education.

Julia is an assistant public defender of Allegheny County, representing defendants in probation and parole violations. She previously worked at Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA) practicing landlord/tenant, bankruptcy, and unemployment compensation law. Julia graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2013. Prior to that, she served with AmeriCorps for a year tutoring and mentoring students at Pittsburgh Milliones University Prep Middle and High School. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009.

Ciora is the founder of sisTers United, a community organization for transgender women of color suffering from homelessness, poverty, and discrimination, and an advocate for trans people and marginalized communities in Pittsburgh. Her work history includes service at a local nonprofit that serves people experiencing homelessness.

​Fundraising Committee Chair​

Our Staff

Proud Haven's mission is to provide a safe shelter for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness in Pittsburgh. We will also provide emotional support and resources to help LGBTQ+ youth develop the skills needed to live independently. 


Communications Committee Chair

Kyle is in-house counsel for ACTION-Housing, Inc.  He is also the co-owner of the Vagabond Gallery. Kyle has worked for the University of Pittsburgh Immigration Law Clinic and the Center for Constitutional Rights in New Orleans. He has served as a volunteer tutor at the East End Cooperative Ministries and Chair of the 2010 Power of One Student Leadership Conference.  Kyle was a Big Brother with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters from 2009-2012. He was the Assistant Director of Student Activities at Reed College from 2007-2012 and the Coordinator of GLBT Services at the University of Maine from 2005-2007.  Kyle is also a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association LGBT Rights Committee.


​Program Development Committee Chair​

Proud Haven