goodwill.jpgAn often discriminated against group will gain a temporary safe haven starting Saturday in San Francisco’s Castro District.

At 10 a.m., a temporary “pop up” Goodwill store will open its doors, and it will be the first Goodwill Industries location to specifically provide job training and placement for transgender individuals.

“We do find in California where there are protections, employers may not be aware of them for transgender people,” said Clair Farley, a coordinator for the Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative.

TEEI, a government-funded organization, is working with Goodwill to provide eight to 10 jobs for transgender people in San Francisco.

“Our goal is the folks hired through this program will actually get hired into other positions at Goodwill,” Farley said.

Farley added that more people from the transgender community would get jobs at the new store when others find more permanent employment.

The 2,500-square-foot location at 2278 Market St. is Goodwill’s first temporary store, according to a spokeswoman, and organizers hope it will remain open for at least six months.

“We’re hoping this store becomes a model for future programs,” said Danielle Simmons, a spokeswoman for Goodwill.

Simmons said the building landlord, Kent Jeffrey, has donated the temporary space.
Jeffrey’s family has owned the building since 1928, and its last tenant was Tower Records before it went bankrupt and vacated several years ago.

Jeffrey said he hopes that after Goodwill vacates, negotiations will pull through for a Trader Joe’s to move into the building.

Farley said the Goodwill operation caters exclusively to the needs of transgender people, who have almost double the average rate of full-time unemployment in California.

“There are several other programs in San Francisco that address needs for other disenfranchised groups,” she said.

She said ex-convicts are among the other groups whose members can get job assistance through Goodwill.

The 10 a.m. store opening and 11:30 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony will feature speakers including state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and a representative from the office of city Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who helped organize the partnership between Goodwill and TEEI.

“Bevan Dufty came to us with the concept,” Farley said. “He was instrumental in helping us secure funding for our organization this year.”

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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