PENELOPE POPPERS: Executive Director of Lucie's Place says a bigger house is still in the works.
, the Central Arkansas nonprofit serving homeless LGBT youth and young adults
, has announced it will be opening a transitional living program
for up to four clients in Little Rock this fall. It's made possible by the donation of a house from The One, Inc.
, a homeless assistance nonprofit that operates The Van
in Little Rock.
, the executive director of Lucie's Place, thanked The One for its donation. "The Van has always been a special organization for us, because they help everybody. They don't let politics or religion get in the way," she said. "They're willing to work with LGBT folks, and that's pretty rare in this environment, unfortunately."
Poppers said the transitional living program will allow formerly homeless LGBT young people to "get on their feet, find employment, develop those life skills they need to live independently. They'll live there rent-free, so a large majority of their income can go towards a savings account to help them transition to their own home once they get to that point. People forget that you need a thousand-plus dollars to put a deposit on an apartment, pay the first month's rent, pay utility deposits ... and it takes awhile to get a thousand bucks in the bank when you're working minimum wage jobs, or slightly better."
Up to 40 percent of homeless young adults identify as LGBT, according to figures cited by Lucie's Place — a vastly higher rate than the general population. However, some homeless shelters affiliated with religious organizations are unwelcoming to LGBT people.
Poppers said the acquisition of the house is an "amazing" development, but is separate from an ongoing crowdfunding campaign
by Lucie's Place to eventually purchase a larger building that will contain transitional housing for eight individuals. She still hopes to purchase that larger home by the first of January.
As for the house donated by The One, Lucie's Place has now taken full possession of the property and has received a conditional use permit from the city. Poppers said renovations to the house should cost under $10,000, and the facility should be open by this fall. "Once renovations are done, we'll start sharing our wish list for items for the house, including furniture. We're hoping to have all the furniture, except mattresses (which we'll be buying new), from the community," she said.
Lucie's Place is also looking for continued help with completing its purchase of the larger home, and is also attempting to secure more monthly donors. "We really need people to sign up to donate $5 a month, or $10, or whatever they can do, because that's sustainable."
The house is located in central Little Rock, she said, and is near several city bus lines. However, Lucie's Place is keeping the address private.
Poppers said she has clients in mind already who might move into one of the new units, but that nothing is certain since "people's living and life situations change so rapidly. ... I can't make promises to people, because I don't want them waiting on a bed if we don't know when it's going to open."
"I don't picture having any issues filling beds, unfortunately," she added.
Lucie's Place will also continue operating its drop-in center and offices in downtown Little Rock.
Here's the full press release:
Little Rock, AR – This fall, a first of its kind home will open in Central Arkansas. The home will provide services specifically for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young adults, and has been generously donated by The One, a local non-profit organization assisting homeless neighbors in Central Arkansas.
It is estimated that up to 40% of homeless young adults identify as LGBT; nearly 6 times higher than the general population. The need for LGBT specific homeless programs and housing in the Natural State is immense, because many LGBT people often struggle to find shelters that will accept their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
“We have been continuously blown away by the generosity of our community.” says Penelope Poppers, Executive Director for Lucie’s Place, “This amazing donation is another example of that incredible support. We are extremely grateful for the donation from our friends at The One.”
In this home, four recently homeless LGBT young adults will live as they develop life skills necessary for their future independence. The skills range from basic tasks like cooking and cleaning to interviewing for jobs and financial planning. These four residents will work with their case manager and resident advisor to ensure they are developing these necessary skills in a supportive environment.
About Lucie’s Place
Lucie’s Place provides homeless LGBTQ young adults in Central Arkansas with safe living environments, job training and counseling services in order to ensure lifelong stability and success, and works to promote equality and acceptance for LGBTQ young adults. You can visit Lucie’s Place at www.LuciesPlace.org or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/LuciesPlace
About The One
The One, Inc. is a very grass roots organization. It was spawned out of several years of hard work and dedication to meeting the needs of our homeless neighbors. That same hard work and dedication continues today in our same community driven methods. The One currently operates 4 vehicles, finding and serving homeless neighbors in Arkansas; The Van (Little Rock), Mission Machine (Searcy), The Russ Buss (Russellville) The River Giver (Batesville). The One also operates Kathryn’s House, a home for unsheltered women and children in Central Arkansas.