Award winning child-welfare advocate David Ambroz has published his life story in a memoir called A Place Called Home. The memoir tells his story of how he overcame childhood poverty and homelessness and went on to graduate from law school and become an executive at Amazon.
GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos was joined by David Ambroz to talk about his incredible journey.
Ambroz reveals the book starts with one of his family’s darkest days. “When I was about 4, my family was living in Grand Central Station and Port Authority and other public places, but we were swept out. That night me, my brother, my sister, and my mom started walking… and we slowly started to freeze. I quickly realized we weren’t necessarily going to make it through the night alive.”
Ambroz talks about how poverty and homelessness statistics haven’t improved at all in his lifetime. He says that about “8.6 million kids live in poverty in this country…we have abandoned this population to live in the darkness right in front of us.” He goes on to say that “There should be no homeless people. There should be no homeless children. There should be no queer children that are abused. We’ve sent a person to the moon; we can damn well figure out how to do these things.”
“It does disproportionately affect our community.” He goes into more detail about how LGBTQ people are at higher risk of homelessness. “I think today, the number is somewhere around 18-20% of the kids in foster care are queer. That’s about double the national population. I think this happens for a number of reasons; one is that we’re not beloved by our families. We are suffering disproportionately from families who can’t accept us, or we feel unaccepted, and we seek safety and community.”
Ambroz, who is a foster parent himself, has so much hope for this population. “What I want us to believe is, we as individuals have the power and responsibility to help vulnerable people.” He says, “We need more queer foster parents, we need more advocacy around kids experiencing homelessness and foster care, we need to be more active in the community.”
Ambroz knows that there are people targeting books like his in the LGBTQ book bans sweeping the nation. “I think the banning of books speaks to the last gasp of these people to squelch what is inevitably a rise in equality, that we still have to fight for,” he states. “I refuse to be made invisible again. And that’s partly why I wrote the book, a kid like myself, homeless or queer or in foster care, any of these experiences, can see their selves reflected in it and see that there is a way out, even though it’s really hard.
David Ambroz’s memoir A Place Called Home is available now.