Experts told CBS 2 HD on Monday that hundreds of gay, lesbian and transgender young people are now homeless in New York City because of their sexual orientation.
Community advocates are alarmed at budget cuts that threaten to put some of them back out on the street.
There was a cry for help in Union Square as a small network of homeless shelters for gay, lesbian and transgender youth came under attack -- beset by bigots and budget cuts.
The City's modest contribution for places like the Ali Forney Center has been slashed and some at City Hall said it's wrong.
"It's not a lot of money we're talking about and yet it could mean the difference between life and death," NYC Comptroller John Liu said.
Liu is talking about the rise of anti-gay violence like the October attack on Jack Price in the College Point section of Queens that left the young man on the edge of death. Experts said the young, especially, need a safe place to stay.
"A lot of these young people have been kicked out of their homes when they come out to their parents. Their family members don't agree with their sexual orientation or their sexual identity and it's a real problem for these young people," said Nancy Downey of Covenant House.
They all have stories about how those who are different become prey for thugs and bigots.
"They were calling us names and they started chasing us and they had a guns at one point," demonstrator Harmoney Santana said.
"I got kicked in the ribs. I got my jaw broken. I wound up in the hospital for about a week or so," said Tyrell Gorton.
"These guys tried to attack me. It's still out there," added Tyron Smith.
The shelters themselves have been targeted, including one just last week in Astoria. The shelter is locked up tight after midnight so whoever vandalized it took a lot of trouble to jump the fence in the darkness and descend the staircase and leave messages of hate. The words "Gay Center" was written on the wall and then the message "We don't want gays here" was inscribed on the door -- the unmistakable language of bigotry.
Some on Monday night suggested a perfect way to answer that message would be to reverse budget cuts to the shelter program.
At least that was the message from Union Square.
The City currently spends $12 million a year supporting shelters for runaway and homeless youth. The current budget proposes to cut that in half.