Jazzie’s Place, the first homeless shelter for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults in the U.S., opened in San Francisco’s Mission District today to help serve the housing needs of nearly a third of the city’s homeless population who identify as LGBT.
Wendy Phillips, the director of Dolores Street Community Services and Jazzie’s Place, said the new shelter is intended to be a space where all shelter guests are treated with dignity and respect.
The shelter is named after Jazzie Collins, a transgender African American woman who was an advocate for homeless LGBT folks prior to her death in 2013.
Collins was also among those who helped dream up the LGBT shelter, according to Tommi Avicolli Mecca, the director of counseling programs at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.
The new shelter, located at 1050 South Van Ness Ave., between 21st and 22nd streets, has 24 beds for homeless individuals in the LGBT community.
Twenty-four beds, however, is unlikely to meet the demand for LGBT housing in San Francisco.
Based on San Francisco’s 2013 Homeless Count, 29 percent of the city’s homeless population identified as LGBT.
Those in need of shelter, and who are over 21 years old, will be able to stay at Jazzie’s Place for up to 90 days, according to the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center.
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said in a statement released today that he has been working to make this queer-friendly shelter a reality since 2010.
“Our homeless LGBT residents deserve to feel safe and welcomed in our shelter system, and the opening of Jazzie’s Place is an important milestone,” Campos said today.
Reservations for a bed at the new shelter can be made at the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, which is located at 165 Capp St. or by phone at (415) 869-7977.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News