Groundbreaking Trans Shelter to Open in San Fran; What About Florida?

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Optical Illusion by street artist "Meek" (Wikipedia)

The transgender community of the San Francisco is hopeful that the proposed shelter for transwomen will become a reality in the near future. The project is the brainchild of Clair Farley, a transwoman who serves as the associate director of economic development at the San Francisco LGBT Center.

Farley told SFGN that 70 percent of transgender people in the Bay Area are unemployed, while 30 percent of the city's homeless population identifies as LGBT — a sizable number of whom are transgender.

"Due to harassment, abuse and neglect they have encountered in shelters, transgender people have been forced to live on the streets," Farley said in a press release. "Transgender women are specifically impacted by the lack of safe or affordable housing, while experiencing high rates of discrimination in employment and education."

Farley is working on getting the Queens Cottage Shelter and Transition House off the ground so that transgender people will have a safe place to go. It's hoped that Queen's Cottage will find a suitable location in Oakland, across the Bay from San Francisco, where rents tend to be cheaper. As of May 19, an Indiegogo campaign for Queens Cottage and Transition House has raised $12,800, that's more than $7,000 above its original goal of $5,000.

Farley now hopes to raise a total of $20,000 by June 5 for this one of a kind project, which will provide transgender people with shelter and more. Food and connections to local resources will be among the services offered. The San Francisco LGBT Center's Trans Employment Program is partnering with the project.

Arianna Lint, director of transgender services at SunServe in Wilton Manors, told SFGN that South Florida's trans community faces many of the same challenges as their Bay Area counterparts.

"Our transgender population shows that 65 percent is homeless and fall below the poverty level of $10,000 or less per year," she said. Lint explained that on many occasions, transgender people are placed into housing situations that assign shelter based on biological gender.

"Eighty percent of the U.S. population claim they know at least one gay or lesbian person, but only 8 percent of the population expresses that they know a transgender individual," Lint said. "Gender identity and transgender issues need to be on the forefront of any regulations regarding LGBTQ persons."

Lint said that Broward County included transgender people in the county-wide employment non-discrimination policy, and that Wilton Manors has expressed interest in being the pilot and role model for these regulations.

According to Lint, there is a trans-inclusive shelter in Miami, but not in Wilton Manors.

Visit www.SunServe.org for more information on its services.


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