Friday, December 18, 2015

LGBT Center Announces Plan To House Homeless Gay Youth

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge A glimpse at MGLCC's plans for the Metamorphosis Project
  • A glimpse at MGLCC's plans for the Metamorphosis Project
The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) announced Friday morning their 2016 plan to house the city's gay, homeless youth. The Metamorphosis Project will employ refurbished shipping containers as transitional housing, and it will be the first housing project for LGBT young adults in the city.

“We’re going alter the containers by adding windows and doors and making them into individual living spaces with a bedroom and a bathroom,” said MGLCC Youth Services Manager Stephanie Reyes. “And we’ll have an administration building there with a classroom, where we’ll teach classes on writing a resume, nutrition, and life skills.”

Greg Utterback, who lives out of state and has only visited MGLCC one time, gave the center the funds to purchase property in Orange Mound from the Shelby County Land Bank. The shipping containers will be set up on that land, but MGLCC is still looking for donors to fund the program.

The plan was conceived by Reyes, who just last month spearheaded a youth homeless count to identify LGBT young adults in need of temporary housing. The MGLCC already operates a food pantry for those in need, and they briefly ran a youth foster program in 2010. 

Nationally, it's estimated that 40 percent of homeless teens and young adults identify as LGBT. Many of them are rejected by their families, and they're either kicked out or choose to leave their uncomfortable living situations.

In planning for the project, Reyes has combed through city and county zoning codes, researched other cities where shipping containers were used as low-cost housing, and studied youth homeless programs across the country.

Reyes said they have a goal of raising enough money for eight shipping containers, but they'd eventually like to raise enough money for more. The center will hold a fund-raiser in February, but she said the date hasn't been set yet. 

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