by David Koon
Lucie’s Place announces crowdfunding campaign to purchase home
With long-sought dream now in reach, nonprofit serving homeless LGBT young adults launches final push
Today, Lucie’s Place announced a crowdfunding campaign to open a transitional living program for homeless LGBT young adults in Little Rock by the end of 2016. The campaign can be found at Toms.LuciesPlace.org
With $130,000 already committed to the project — a sum raised over the course of the past four years, largely from local donors — the organization plans to raise a final $60,000 in the coming months. This initial $190,000 investment will allow Lucie’s Place to purchase a home that will accommodate up to eight previously homeless individuals as they learn the skills necessary for their future independence. The funds will also pay for the first three years of the program’s operations.
“Residents of the home will develop the skills that we all take for granted,” said Penelope Poppers, the executive director and founder of Lucie’s Place. “How to wash clothes, budget money, pay bills, obtain and maintain employment, keep an orderly living environment, and so on. Homeless LGBT young adults often do not know how to perform these and other basic tasks because they grew up in unstable, and often abusive, family situations. For many, this home will be the first stable, accepting environment in which they have ever lived.”
Nationally, about 40 percent of young homeless people are LGBT, according to a 2013 study commissioned by a think tank at the UCLA School of Law. The True Colors Fund, a national nonprofit working to end LGBT youth homelessness, estimates that 25 percent of teenagers who come out as LGBT are forced out of their homes by their parents. Arkansas is no exception to these statistics. In 2015, Lucie’s Place served 70 clients at its drop-in center in downtown Little Rock, all LGBT individuals between the ages of 18 and 25.
Since 2012, Lucie’s Place has worked towards the dream of purchasing a home to meet the urgent needs of Central Arkansas’s homeless LGBT young people. This final fundraising push will make that dream a reality. The organization is now more than two-thirds of the way towards reaching its $190,000 goal.
“For me, it feels like it has taken a very long time to get to this point in our campaign to open this home,” Poppers said. “But once I step back, I’m reminded that we’ve built Lucie’s Place from scratch over the last three to four years. We’re now an LGBT organization that everyone in our community seems to be talking about. Locally as well as nationally, more and more people are acknowledging the work we do and the work we will be doing very soon, when our first housing program opens. We are finally at the point where we can tell our supporters ‘This is it. The final $60K. Let’s do it!’”
2015 was a year of tremendous growth for Lucie’s Place. In May, Penelope Poppers became the organization’s first full-time staff member. In August, Lucie’s Place opened its drop-in center for homeless LGBT young adults in downtown Little Rock; for many individuals, the drop-in center is the only place in town where they can be free of the fear of anti-LGBT harassment, discrimination or violence.