My favorite song by Bob Dylan, this issue reminds me that when we highlight some of the finer things in homes and gardens, it’s also good to balance things by talking about giving “Shelter from the Storm.” So often, the rainbow community is faced with housing difficulties. Kids being kicked out of their homes after coming out, people who are living with HIV/AIDS and having difficulties with housing, transitioning people who might choose between hormone therapy and rent payments, dual-income households where both breadwinners aren’t getting paid equitably. There are so many compound issues out there for this special interest community and too many of them affect where people are able to find shelter. And so I’d like to mention some recent housing opportunities that have crossed my screen and are very relevant to this community.
Clare Housing is celebrating its 30th anniversary and also progressing nicely with its Marshall Flats apartment complex in northeast Minneapolis. From Clare Housing: “The development will help address the shortage of dedicated supportive housing for individuals and families affected by HIV in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro by adding 36 new units. Why does supportive housing make a difference for people with HIV? In a nutshell, housing with connections to healthcare provide the foundation for an undetectable viral load. When someone has an undetectable level of HIV in their bloodstream, their health improves and they are profoundly less likely to spread the virus to others.” Go to: www.clarehousing.org
Also starting construction in Downtown Minneapolis, Downtown View, a $17 million, five-story partner development project with YouthLink and Project for Pride in Living will provide 46 units of high-quality housing and supportive services for youth experiencing homelessness, including far too many young people in this community. “We know investing in young people experiencing homelessness has long-term positive outcomes for both the young person and for our community,” says Dr. Heather Huseby, executive director of YouthLink. “With the creation of 46 much-needed units of safe, supportive housing, expansion of the Youth Opportunity center, and a Career Pathways Center, we will increase economic and education opportunities and equity for young people.” Go to: www.youthlinkmn.org
Over at Avenues for Homeless Youth: “Big plans are taking shape to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the GLBT Host Home Program. We are working to connect with all founders, hosts, youth, staff, and supporters of the GLBT Host Home Program. Watch for more information soon about a big community party this fall, along with a special fundraising campaign to ensure our LGBTQ-specific programs remain strong into the future.” Go to www.avenuesforyouth.org
The Arise Project of the Greater Twin Cities United Way raises money to support LGBTQ homeless youth in the Twin Cities. The 2015–2017 grantees include Avenues for Homeless Youth, Bridge for Youth, Face to Face, Hope For Youth, Oasis for Youth, and Youth Link. Learn more about those organizations and how to help by attending various fundraisers or volunteering. Go to www.gtcuw.org/get-involved/join-giving-community/arise-project for more.
It is up to us to build space and shelter each other.