Incredible gay couple open group home for homeless LGBT+ kids

US married couple, Brad and Nick Shlaikowski, even helped build Courage MKE, their state's first group home for queer youth.

A smiling gay couple sit on the outdoor steps of a house with a rainbow heart in the window
Image: Laura Spotteck

A bighearted gay couple from Wisconsin have opened their state’s first ever group home for homeless LGBT+ youth, with the wonderful pair not only fundraising for, but also helping to build, the safe place for at-risk kids.

In an interview with Today, Brad and Nick Schlaikowski, shared their journey to opening the house which has already become a much-needed safe place. While the couple have four children of their own, three from Brad’s first marriage and an adopted daughter, they also foster. It was while fostering a young teenager who identified as a lesbian that the couple began to realise just how many homeless LGBT+ young people were out there.

Brad shared, “Until we became foster parents, we had no idea how many kids in Milwaukee were not sleeping at their parents’ homes every night.” This inspired them to open a group home for other LGBT+ teens. Brad continued, “I want them to know that there’s a door they can knock on and get a hot meal and a shower and a soft pillow to sleep on. I can’t fathom sleeping behind a dumpster when it’s negative 20 degrees outside.”

Brad and Nick bought the house in September, 2018, and then began the process of renovation to make it suitable for future guests. Wisconsin hardware store, Lowe’s, not only kindly donated supplies but also helped arrange volunteers for the process. In total, over 100 volunteers joined in to help in the building work, with the awesome gay couple continuing the work after the volunteers had left by flooring and painting the house.

Even when the house was built, funds had to be raised to employ an in-house carer, and have the funds to ensure the young folk could also avail of therapy and healthcare. Throughout the whole process, Brad and Nick were still working full-time jobs, as well as taking care of their own children. But the drive to help young people in need was unwavering.

Nick shared, “We’re strengthening the community by doing our best to send really awesome, powerful adults into the world that otherwise probably wouldn’t have gotten the chance to do that.” “Everyone needs to be, and deserves to be, loved,” Brad added.

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